The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 19, 2012

United Way goes 'Second Mile'

United Way column

By Richard Jarrell
guest columnist


Recently I have been focusing on what it truly means to be a person of the “Second Mile.” As most of you know, my day job is the owner-operator of the local Chick-fil-As, and corporately several years ago we started an initiative called “Second Mile Service,” which is where I really became aware of the concept at all.

By way of information, what I’ve learned is that going the Second Mile is actually a biblical illustration. A decade before the birth of Jesus, the Roman Senate passed a law saying that in any conquered province within the Roman Empire, soldiers could compel able-bodied men to bear their burden for one mile, but no more. There is a passage in Matthew 5:41 that speaks to this point when Jesus said, “Whosoever shall compel you to go one mile, go with him two.”

I find this statement to be very compelling for who we all need to be today, as well.

As human beings on this earth, we all should automatically live in the “First Mile.” That being the mile where we are good citizens, good neighbors, doing the right things to everyone we come in contact with. This should be considered compulsory.

Then there is the “Second Mile”; this is the mile of “choice.” We all have the ability to choose to do more. Not just what is expected, but to truly look for opportunities to serve in a bigger way.

I tell you this story to say that I feel the United Way of Southern West Virginia is a “Second Mile” organization. Not just doing what is considered the basics and what is expected, but really going out and making a difference in the five counties that we serve.

Not just doing the work within the office and the staff, but getting out and creating relationships and working collaboratively with the 32 agencies as well as their local municipalities.

Ensuring people have a place to lay their head on a cold night or a woman who has been beaten has a place to go.

These are the basic necessities of life.

Let me encourage us all to join the “Second Mile Club”!


As we approach Thanksgiving, let me take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for everyone who works so hard to make the United Way of Southern West Virginia such a wonderful organization.

I start with our office; Margaret Ann O’Neal and her staff do amazing work every day that will never be known about within this community. Our board is a great group of people who generously lend their time and expertise to guiding the work.

Our volunteers — Lord knows the hours that people give to help serve and raise money that can be used to do the work.

And last but not least, our agencies. These are the front-line people who are out there getting it done daily in our communities.

In closing, I want to say how much I love our community and I am so thankful for the blessings we have, but there is still much work to be done. And unfortunately, much of that work takes money and that is why it is my job to encourage you to be a part of the work and give toward us meeting our campaign goal of $500,000. We need you, and more than that, people of need in our community need you!

That is why we need to Live 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.