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Labor of love

Volunteers roll up sleeves to launch United Way drive

Volunteers roll up sleeves to launch United Way drive

September 02, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - While Michael Callas was absent from Wednesday's kick-off of the 2004 United Way campaign, his legacy was present and accounted for in the spirit of the 230 volunteers in a Day of Caring around Washington County.

Callas, a tireless United Way supporter and longtime volunteer, died in May while vacationing in North Carolina.

"Mike was always giving to the community," said Gary Moser, group leader for the Callas Contractors Day of Caring team at the Mason-Dixon Boy Scouts of America on Crestwood Drive.

Moser, who has worked for the contracting firm for 27 years, said Callas stressed to his employees that they needed to be involved in their community.

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The seven members of the Callas team were working on and around the roof of the Scout building Wednesday. Skilled workers, they brought their own equipment to speed the work that will save the Boy Scouts - a United Way agency - a lot of maintenance costs in the future, Moser said.

Volunteers from F&M Bank, Columbia Gas, Hagerstown Paint and Glass and Washington County government also worked on landscaping, painting and cleaning at the Boy Scouts building.

Sponsored by First Data for the past four years, the Day of Caring sent volunteers from Hagerstown Trust, Fujicolor, GST AutoLeather, Citicorp, Mack Trucks, M&T Bank, The Herald-Mail Co., Exchange Club, Long Meadow Rotary, Girl Scouts of America and First Data to a number of projects.

In all, 14 of the 21 United Way agencies were spruced up, decorated inside and/or out and generally improved during the whirlwind Day of Caring kickoff.

Meanwhile, the business of raising this year's $1.6 million campaign goal has started, according to Robert T. Ernst, United Way co-chairman. As of Wednesday, $486,000 had been pledged.

Ernst credited several businesses and organizations for getting the 2004 campaign off to a robust start: Beachley Furniture, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Bon-Ton, Catholic Charities, Citicorp Credit Services, the City of Hagerstown employees, Community Action Council, Food Resources of Washington County, Mack Trucks and Verizon.

The 2004 campaign will run until the beginning of December, with a finale luncheon set for Dec. 17.

"A Day of Caring is a great opportunity for individuals to contribute in a different way to the community beyond the campaign," said Art Callaham, United Way co-chairman.

Last fall's 2003 campaign brought in $1,587,635, 2 percent less than the previous year. To bridge the gap, nearly $21,000 was cut from 10 organizations' budgets and $26,000 was withdrawn from United Way's reserves, officials said in April.

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