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United Way hits goal

April 24, 2012
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

WHEELING - The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley has exceeded its 2011-12 campaign goal of $777,000, Judy Riesbeck Wright, campaign chairwoman, announced Friday.

"I am absolutely delighted to announce that we have received $777,560 for the campaign," she said. "This would not be a possibility without the dedication and hard work of our campaign volunteers, as well as the United Way staff."

Wright noted the campaign was within several thousand dollars of its goal in recent weeks, and that a final push by the volunteers and additional donations by contributors carried the total over the goal.

"We knew it could be done, and I had absolute faith in our community and our volunteers that it could be done," she said. "I cannot thank them enough. Their work will have a tremendous impact on the lives of their friends and neighbors throughout our valley. But when you stop and think about it, how could the efforts of so many good people not be successful?"

With the campaign totals in hand, Wright said, "We are excited to be able to allocate needed funds to assist our 30 wonderful local agencies."

Bill Wagner, president of the United Way Board of Directors, also offered praise for the volunteers for bringing in a successful campaign in a challenging economy.

"Given the economic condition we're in, the difficult position many families are in, it's a real accomplishment that's been achieved by many people involved in the annual fundraising campaign," he said. "It's everyone helping in some way or another with the fundraising effort. It's really - and I know this term is often used - it's really a grassroots effort, so many people working together to make it happen. Our reaching goal is a real representation of the community support."

The United Way Campaign opened in September with the traditional Day of Caring. Volunteers spent that day working for a variety of social service agencies in the area at tasks the agencies might not otherwise be able to afford or have the manpower to complete.

Many companies and their employees ran workplace campaigns, and other individual donors offered their contributions throughout the campaign.

George Smoulder, United Way executive director, agreed that the campaign had its challenges, but that Wright's team and the volunteers throughout the community persevered to reach the goal.

"I am so pleased that their hard work has reached this end," he said. "We are truly blessed with dedicated volunteers and generous members of our community."

Wright's campaign cabinet included Jay Mitchell of Eagle Manufacturing, Wellsburg; Jim Rock of PPG Industries-Natrium; Kristie L. Barnett of WesBanco, Wheeling; Jeffrey B. Knierim of West Liberty University; Stuart F. Bloch of Hazlett, Burt & Watson; Bradley K. Shafer of Swartz Campbell LLC; Mary K. DeGarmo, retired Brooke County educator; and Bernadette Smith of Hazlett, Burt & Watson, past campaign chair.

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