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United Way honors partner agencies, donors at reception

November 17, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

Deborah Dunnavant said she was broke and homeless when she turned to Horizon Goodwill Industries for help.

Two years later, the mother of two is a success story, said Dale Bannon, executive director of the United Way of Washington County. The organization honored the work of some of its partner agencies and biggest donors Wednesday.

"When I first came to them, I was like homeless, didn't have any place to live or anything like that," said Dunnavant, who now is working.

According to Bannon, the United Way helps fund 22 partner agencies, including Horizon Goodwill Industries.

Bannon said the local United Way has raised about two-thirds of its goal of $1.75 million for next year. One couple - Howard and Anne Kaylor - donated $10,000 or more last year, and Bannon said they and two other couples already have pledged at least that much for next year.

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Last year, 435 people joined the charity's Leadership Circle by donating $500 or more, said Jennifer Fleming, marketing and agency director. About 100 of the donors, whose money helped fund programs this year, attended the reception Wednesday, she said.

According to Bannon, the United Way fell just short of its goal of $1.7 million last year.

While much of the reception was focused on honoring donors, Bannon said, "the real heart of the United Way is what happens on the front lines," in people's lives.

North Hagerstown High School graduate Tiffany Cobb said being part of Girls Inc. of Washington County, another of the United Way's partner agencies, helped her get through a hard time when she was younger.

"They put you on a pretty good path," Cobb said. "They encourage you to go to college and get an education."

Cobb, 22, said she is pursuing a master's degree while working at Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital as a registered nurse. She said she is planning to get married in the summer, and she recently bought a house.

Since going to Horizon Goodwill Industries, Dunnavant, 36, said she has found a place in Hagerstown to live, and she has been working at Always Ron's for 16 months. She said her children, ages 14 and 11, pushed her to do better, and the help she found made it possible.

"I mean, it's meant everything to me because they have helped me," Dunnavant said.

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