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United Way aims to raise $195K for local programs

United Way of Lincoln County volunteers today embarked on theirannual campaign to help make dreams a reality for more than 20local agencies.

With the theme Dreams Bring Hope, this year’s campaign goal is$195,000. Campaign officials said that amount is realistic andreachable.

“We thought $195,000 was a goal we could achieve if we allworked very hard to do,” campaign chairwoman Rita Rich said duringa kickoff breakfast this morning.

Receiving agencies range from charitable and serviceorganizations to those that focus on recreational and similaractivities. Several representatives today discussed the impact theorganizations, assisted by United Way, have had on their lives.

“It makes all the difference in the world in our community,”said Mayor Bob Massengill, who spoke briefly on behalf of theFellowship of Christian Athletes.

Will Thibodeaux and R.J. Jenkins cited the benefits of theirparticipation in the Lipsey Pee Wee football program. Both are nowmembers of the Brookhaven High football team.

“Pee Wee football taught the fundamentals of the game, andthat’s what you need,” Jenkins said.

Lincoln County 4-H members Jerry Corley and Trey Hebert spokeabout their participation on a variety of club events, such as 4-HCongress, the state fair, and animal judging contests. Leadershipskills were among the most valuable lessons learned, they said.

“4-H has been an amazing experience for me …,” said Hebert, anine-year 4-H participant. “I’m ready for future challenges in mylife.”

For Andy Fearn, leadership skills were learned through hisparticipation in Boy Scouts. At $20,000 each, the Boy and GirlScout organizations are among the largest recipients of United Wayfunds.

“Boy Scouts, over the years, has taught me so much,” Fearnsaid.

This year’s fund-raising total will be announced later this yearat the Chamber of Commerce banquet, Rich said. She applaudeddivision chairmen who will be leading campaign efforts.

“Our division chairmen are the workhorses of the United Waycampaign,” Rich said.

Also today, campaign treasurer Mary P. Smith was recognized forher years of services with the organization. Smith has been aUnited Way volunteer since 1988.

Rich said United Way is about financially helping organizationsmake their dreams a reality. Cliff Brumfield, the chamber’sexecutive vice president, expressed similar thoughts.

“This organization allows us to take our talents and gifts fromGod and spread them around the community …,” Brumfield said.”We’re all together hand in hand toward a better tomorrow.”