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Reception honors United Way givers

September 23, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

HAGERSTOWN

daniels@herald-mail.com

As a young child growing up in Hagerstown, Kelly Wright remembers learning to swim at the Memorial Recreation Center, watching movies at the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, and learning martial arts at the Hagerstown YMCA.

During those formative years, Wright said he also learned the importance of giving back to the community through the actions of all those who offered him guidance, support and encouragement.

"It taught me you've got to have a sense of something greater than yourself. You have to say, 'I can help someone, because someone else helped me,'" said Wright, a Hagerstown resident and reporter for Fox News Channel.

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"Certainly, what I am on the world stage has every bit to do with what I was on the small stage growing up in Hagerstown."

Stepping away from the broadcast cameras, Wright delivered the keynote address at the Robinwood Conference Center Thursday night for a reception honoring United Way of Washington County donors. Wright urged the crowd of about 50 to serve as community leaders, not just with their checkbooks but through their actions.

"I wouldn't be where I am today if not for some of the leaders here in Hagerstown who really saw something in me," Wright told the crowd. "Leadership is influential, the chance to influence others to pursue their purpose and their vision."

The United Way honored three donors during the reception for contributing at least $10,000: Howard Kaylor, the late Ralph Sharrett and John Waltersdorf. Also recognized for serving as corporate leaders in employee leadership giving were Volvo Powertrain and local unions 171 and 1247 of the United Autoworkers, for serving as corporate leaders in employee fundraising for the United Way.

The Leadership Giving Circle Reception, planned to be the first in an annual tribute to donors, coincides with the United Way's 2005 fundraising campaign. Dale Bannon, executive director of the United Way of Washington County, said the organization hopes to raise $1.7 million this year to support its 21 member organizations. Bannon said the United Way set $1.6 million as its fundraising goal last year, and through contributions the organization surpassed that figure by $600,000.

"They rely on those dollars to feed seniors, Meals on Wheels, to make sure that there's a safe place for kids after school," Bannon said. "Washington County residents, citizens and businesses have a spirit of giving like none other, and we're confident that we will meet our needs."

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