The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


September 10, 2012

And AWAY we go again ...

United Way column


Yes, it’s time to wave the flag to get the United Way of Southern West Virginia campaign for 2012-2013 started. While it may seem like we just celebrated meeting and exceeding last year’s goal, it’s really symbolic of the way it works with the United Way — “The needs never stop”!

Last year was such a blessing of success under the leadership of campaign chair Sen. Bill Laird, exceeding the ambitious goal of $440,000. Bill started the year by challenging us to build on the tremendous successes of the previous year and as an organization, a board and a community we did that very thing.

Moneys were raised and needs were met as they continue to be met today. Many thanks go out to Sen. Laird for his dedication and leadership. He left big shoes to fill!

This year I have the great fortune to be able to work with someone that I sincerely admire and respect as my campaign vice chairman, Mr. Frank Wood. Frank needs no introduction to the people of this community; his leadership has been so evident over the years. I couldn’t ask for a better wing man to work with, and together we will work closely to achieve our new goal.

That brings me to the new goal for this year — $500,000. That’s right, one half of a million dollars! This is a goal that we have called a “BHAG,” a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”!

Some may ask, “Why do you need to raise that much money?” The answer is simple — because the needs are that great! And at the end of the day, that’s why we exist — to meet needs.

Over the next several weeks I will have the opportunity to share more with you about our goal, the needs, and how you can help to be a “Partner of Hope” to meet the needs that exist in our community.

As I write this article today, we are almost a week away from what I’m sure will be one of the most fun nights that Beckley has seen in many a day. The night will be the first United Way of Southern West Virginia Dancing with the Stars, scheduled Friday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

This night of competition, food and dancing, while giving everyone an excuse to get all dressed up, should be our largest single event fundraiser of the year. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, not to worry, tickets are still available for $75 per person by calling the United Way office at 304-253-2111.

In case you’re not aware of what I’m talking about, our version of Dancing with the Stars will resemble the competition as you see it on TV. There will be five couples from around the area performing their rendition of dances like the fox trot, cha cha, and ballroom. As one of those who will be performing, I have to tell you, it is not as easy as it looks on TV. Hours and hours of practicing have been invested to make this a night to remember.

Over the next several weeks it will be my honor to have the opportunity to share with you more about this great organization, its purpose, and most of all how you can partner with us to … LIVE UNITED AND GIVE UNITED!

— United Way of Southern West Virginia 2012-2013 campaign chair Richard Jarrell owns the two Chick-fil-A franchises in Beckley and is a member of the Raleigh County Board of Education.

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