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Hearty start opens United Way’s drive

September 8, 2011

Leslie Rhoades, United Way of Adams County campaign chairwoman

    "Matters of the heart" is how this year's United Way of Adams County (UWAC) campaign chairwoman, Leslie Rhoades of Decatur, describes the 2011 drive toward a goal of $222,012.
    At Wednesday's UWAC kickoff luncheon in downtown Berne, she also referred to the United Way campaign slogan, "When your gift becomes someone's lifeline," and used a simple demonstration to show how even a small amount of money can make a big difference.
    More than 40 people attended the event at the Boys' and Girls' Club branch.
    As part of the program, 120 $1 bills were dispersed among the audience. Then, representatives of two of the 32 recipients of UWAC funds told how $120 would help people aided by those two agencies: Decatur Operation Help, a food bank for more than 20 years, and the Adams-Wells Crisis Center in Decatur.
    Longtime Operation Help leader Mary Jo Toole said her group provided services to 145 families in August, meaning approximately 500 people, while Angie Gunsett, director of the crisis center, said that site housed people for a total of 1,013 shelter days during 2010.
    When you realize how many people are seeking various kinds of help, said Rhoades, "you want to give as much as you can."
    United Way Executive Director Jim Compton touched on the same theme, saying there is "a tremendous number of people" who want assistance, but also a "a tremendous number" of people and groups willing to provide such aid.
    Rhoades added, "If we work as a team, we'll accomplish a lot more." She then named the members of the UWAC team working this year to reach the goal:
    • Assistant campaign chairwoman Susan Sefton, who will be the campaign chair in 2012.
    • Advisors Compton, Sefton, United Way President Ron Storey, 2010 campaign chairman Wylie Sirk, and C.J. Garwood.
    • Industrial Division chairman Pat McNamara.
    • Commercial Division workers Steve Amstutz, Jamie McDonald, Deone Miller, Toole, Ronda Cowens, Gunsett, Marian Morgan, and Chet Longenberger.
    • Government Division co-chairs Connie Moser and Bill Warren.
    • Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate workers Brad Martz, Greg Sprunger, Matt Habor, Betty Melton, Jeanie Adkitson, and Tasha Nevil.
    • Professional Division collectors Steve Bailey, Joyce Schultz, Derek Bailey, and Sefton.
    • Public Service and Education Division workers Rex Hinsky, Sirk, Mike Pettibone, and Scott Litwiller.
    • Agriculture Division chairman Leonard King.
    • Rural and Amish Division chairman Jamie McDonald.
    The mission of the United Way is "to improve health, human, and social conditions in Adams County by promoting organizational cooperation, stimulating volunteer participation, mobilizing and deploying community resources, and seeking solutions to urgent community problems."
    At the end of the program, everyone watched this year's promotional video, which was made by people from Huntington University.
    Lunch was catered by Bella Tower restaurant in Berne.

"Best start ever"
    "We're off to our best start ever!"
    That was the best news aired at Wednesday's kickoff luncheon in Berne for the 2011 fund drive of the United Way of Adams County. The goal is $222,012 to aid 32 local and area agencies.
    Jim Compton, United Way executive director, made that comment and campaign chairwoman Leslie Rhoades elaborated by saying more than $60,000 has already been received from nine pacesetter donors.
    That total includes $7,200 from the 19 members of the local United Way board of directors.
    The other eight pacesetters are Bunge North America, Hoosier Pattern, North Adams Community Schools, and R&R Employment, all in Decatur; South Adams Schools, First Bank of Berne, and F.C.C. (Adams), all in Berne; and Adams Central Community Schools in Monroe.

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