The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 2, 2013

Thanks go out to many people who help United Way

United Way column

By Margaret O'Neal

— Taking the time to say thank you……

WOW, has it been a busy fall for our United Way! We have been working hard the last three months (and longer) striving to reach our annual campaign goal of $525,000! Today we have raised around 80 percent of that goal thanks to those of you who have already given. Some of you choose to give by being part of our Dancing with the Stars event! That magical night filled the Beckley Raleigh County Convention Center with over 800 people and 12 perfect dancers who ensured that everyone had a fabulous time.

Buying a table or a ticket or even now buying a video ($10 and they make a great Christmas gift) counts toward our goal.

Or maybe Dancing is not your thing, but you showed up last night Friday night to be part of our fifth Wonderland of Trees event! A crowd of over 300 gathered at Lewis Automotive Superstore to purchase 51 Christmas trees decorated by generous and creative tree sponsors!

The highest tree sold for $4,500 and included a whole home generator that was donated and decorated by R. W. Electric. People’s Choice award went to Foley Orthodontics for the Snowman (with braces) tree! At the end of the night, we raised close to $40,000! Again, maybe you donated $1 to vote for your favorite or maybe your purchased trees at the auction that you donated back to over 10 families in southern West Virginia that perhaps would not have had a tree! Whatever your contribution, it counts! Every last dime, every penny, goes to improve the common good in southern West Virginia. Our fundraisers are friendraisers too and we value our friends!

So, while Mr. Frank Wood took a well-deserved break, I borrowed the keyboard to say “thank you.” We never want to get too busy to say it, “thank you,” over and over.

Thanks to our dedicated and hard-working staff … Anna Lester, Teresa Kelly and Kathy Vance. These ladies are tireless and go over and above what we could ever expect. 

Thanks to our committed board of directors. This is a time when governance by nonprofit boards is more important than ever before. Ensuring the fiscal strength and integrity of an organization often falls on the shoulders of the board. We know with confidence and, more important, you can be assured as donors, our board takes their role to heart.

Thanks to our agency partners that spend countless hours doing the work that makes our communities stronger, safer and often providing the very basic needs to the people they serve.

Thanks to our volunteers who allow us to do so much with so little.

But most of all thanks to you, our donors, our supporters and our friends. Our United Way is strong and dedicated to serving the people of southern West Virginia. We will continue to work hard to make sure food pantries have the food they need, that our baby pantries stay stocked with diapers so that our littlest citizens have what they need and we will continue to listen to you as we identify needs that need attention to make this the best place in West Virginia to live, work and raise a family.

Lastly, a special thanks to our awesome campaign team made up of Mr. Wood, chair, and Mrs. Sherrie Hunter, vice chair. They have invested hours of time to this effort and have grown our campaign in the right direction. Check back next Monday for Mr. Wood’s return (he is a far better writer) and watch for us as we spend the next three weeks striving to reach that goal of $525,000!

This will ensure that the 34 agency partners we are committed to in 2014 will receive the funding necessary to continue their vital work in our communities. If you see us at your workplace, fill out a pledge card. If you get a letter in the mail and you haven’t already done so, please send a small (or large) donation. Believe me, every dollar makes a difference, I promise! We also promise we’ll never get too busy to say THANK YOU!

— Margaret Ann O’Neal, United Way of Southern WV Inc., 304-673-9599.