The United Way of Blount County campaign for 2007-08 came in more than $8,000 over goal with a final tally of $2,158,705.
Campaign chair Dave Bennett announced the total during the victory celebration held at Alcoa First Baptist Church on Friday, Nov. 16.
“This is going to make a tremendous difference in the community,” Bennett said.
Local musician J.J. Tyson provided special entertainment for the event as he performed his one-man show of classic rock and roll, playing guitar, bass and a drum machine simultaneously.
Over 200 people attended the United Way celebration as Bennett and his campaign cabinet reported totals for each division.
There was a special guest appearance by Hostess Twinkie the Kid, who arrived throwing Twinkies to the crowd in honor of Campaign Chairman Dave Bennett’s successful fried Twinkie booth at the United Way Public Service Hamburger Luncheon in September.
“Dave, you might recognize him as you deep-fried about 200 of his brothers and sisters at the Hamburger Luncheon earlier this year,” said Joe Huff, chair of the Public Service division.
Twinkie the Kid assisted Huff with presenting a Leader of the Pack: Governmental Red Tape Award to the local government who raised the most money for United Way.
“This is the Governmental Red Tape Award for breaking through the red tape of government and getting your employees to reach in their hearts and their pockets to help United Way,” said Huff.
This year, Maryville, Alcoa, and Blount County governments raised $89,218 which is a 33 percent increase over what the local governments raised last year.
City of Maryville’s United Way coordinators Christine Mincy and Cristy West took home the Red Tape Award for Maryville City government employees, who contributed a total of $38,000 to United Way.
Campaign Chairman Bennett brought president and CEO Sandra Davis to the podium to honor her during her last campaign before her retirement, and the crowd gave Davis a standing ovation.
“Sandra, I got three words for you: We made it,” Bennett said. “We made our goal with $2,158,705. This is going to make a huge difference to this community.”
Bennett said that he respected Davis before he got to work with her, but working with her as chair of the campaign only caused his respect for her to grow.
“She’s tireless. She’s professional. I learned so much getting to work beside her and with her,” Bennett said.
The division chairs announced their totals at the Victory Luncheon:
Special Gifts and Residential Division -- $146,056.
Professional Division -- $121,885.
Public Service Division -- $226,256.
General Business -- $164,768.
Industry and Building Trades Division -- $218,355.
Commerce Division -- $297,691.
Alexis de Toqueville Society -- $230,750.
Pillars Society -- $472,713.
Major Firms -- $955,942.
Bennett thanked all the division chairs. “Each one of you I consider a close personal friend, and I consider each of you family,” he said. “Thank you very much.”