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United Way chips away at $1.9 million goal

United Way of Blount County Campaign Chairman Greg Wilson’s campaign has zipped past the 50-yard line and is headed for a touchdown.

Wilson announced at the United Way mid-campaign report meeting on Wednesday that the campaign has raised 51.8 percent of the $1.9 million goal for a total of $983,888.

The fun began even before the meeting started as Wilson urged those in attendance to “Bobble the Bobble Head” by throwing a football at a bobble head doll of Lane Kiffin for a $5 donation.

Maintaining the sports theme set at the campaign kick-off, United Way supporters tossed a football at a bobble head of former University of Tennessee Head Football Coach Lane Kiffin. Two broken bobble heads later, the tosses had netted $123.

As the meeting began, Wilson thanked United Way meeting sponsors, media sponsors and loaned executives. Following are reports given by each division:

Major Firms, chaired by Dave Ogle, has raised $607,190 which is 75.1 percent of their $808,645 goal.

Commerce, chaired by Joan Jones, has raised $67,699 which is 28.4 percent of their $238,720 goal.

Industry, chaired by Jerrie McAbee, has raised $38,782 which is 21.3 percent of their $182,130 goal.

General Business, chaired Kathy Johnson, has raised $31,718 which is 21.2 percent of their $150,000 goal.

Public Service, chaired by Melissa Thompson, has raised $57,641 which is 28.7 percent of its $200,915 goal.

Professionals, chaired by Ron German, has raised $66,088 which is 63% of its $104,925 goal.

Special Gifts/Residential, chaired by Janine Stinnett, has raised $75,105 which is 31.3 percent of its goal of $167,500.

Joe Dawson, who co-chairs the Pillars Society with his wife, Sue, reported Leadership Giving is going well. Pillars Society members are any individuals or households that give $1,000 or more to United Way. Dawson reported that, to date, the Pillars Society has raised $218,611 with 147 members, of which nine are new.

Dawson also reported on behalf of Kevin Clayton, who chairs the Tocqueville Society, which consists of individuals or households giving $10,000 or more to United Way. Currently, the Tocqueville Society has raised $25,000.

Special event committee members also reported at the meeting.

Tricia Tipton announced the Public Service Hamburger Luncheon, held on Sept. 15, raised a total of $12,276 through sponsorships, food sales, and a silent auction.

“We sold close to 1,000 burgers, fried over 100 Twinkies, and made over $900 on our silent auction,” Tipton said. “Our autographed Phillip Fulmer football went for $500 - just by itself. Phil wasn’t even included.”

United Way Back Roads Ride and Barbecue co-chairs Jim Ford and Tara Rasher announced the Sept. 26 event raised $11,300.

“I said it last year, and I’ll say it again, ‘Get your motor runnin’! Head out on the highway!’” Ford sang during their report and then noted that, through sponsorships, live and silent auctions, motorcycle registrations and barbecue ticket sales, the event was able to triple what it raised last year.

Wilson concluded the mid-campaign report meeting by thanking those in attendance for their continued support of United Way and added, “We will see you at victory on Nov. 19!”

After the meeting, Wilson said he is very pleased with the how well the campaign is going.

“I think there is a lot of optimism in the community. There is a lot of enthusiasm, and the cabinet is doing a wonderful job,” Wilson said. “Their enthusiasm is infectious. The individuals who have agreed to be on the cabinet this year are very positive people who have really rolled up their sleeves and are ready to get the job done.”

Wilson noted that, comparatively, the campaign is more than 6 percent ahead of last year’s mid-campaign and says it is all due to the support from the community.

“I am very pleased. Any time when you get into a campaign - especially in an economic environment like this -- there are a lot of concerns. But Blount County has come together,” Wilson said. “They understand United Way is needed to take care of our neighbors and our community, and the people of Blount County have big hearts. It’s really showing right now.”

Lunch for the mid-campaign report meeting was provided by United Way of Blount County meeting sponsors.

United Way of Blount County supports programs that address health, education, and self-sufficiency. For more information or to give to United Way, visit liveunitedblount.org or call 865-982-2251.

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