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United Way sets $600,000 goal as campaign begins

    A crowd of about 70 gathered Tuesday at the Bulloch County Courthouse square to hear words of encouragement from a football celebrity and to get geared up for the 2007-2008 United Way campaign.
    A number of area businesses got a jump start on the campaign. These "pacesetter companies"  coordinated their campaigns early, with employees collecting  $189,746 before the campaign officially began.
    Football celebrity Fred Stokes, who began his career as one of "Erk's Eagles" at Georgia Southern University before becoming a professional NFL player with the Washington Redskins, LA Rams and New Orleans Saints, spoke to the crowd.
    Stokes stressed the importance of helping others.
    "It's an honor and privilege to be a part of this thing," he said. "The only thing you can know about United way is it puts its money in so many pots.
    "There's nobody here today that somebody did not help," he said. "We need to be concerned about the community. We need to help each other and look out for each other."
    Stokes reminded people to remember the joys of being a child, and how good it felt when someone gave you a hand up. "Don't forget somebody at some time helped you," he said.
    "I'm asking you guys to give of y our time," he continued. "Sometimes kids don't want "stuff,' they want your time. Sometimes people don't want money, they want time."
    But giving to United Way as well as giving time to others is a way to help over 35,000 people through 21 agencies that are served by the local United Way, he said.
    "Give of your time, and this is a great vehicle to do that," he said.
    United Way Campaign Chairman Bob Olliff named off 21 agencies that receive aid through United Way, including the Boys and Girls Club of Statesboro and Bulloch County, The American Red Cross, the Statesboro Food Bank, Boy Scouts and several others.
    "They are the reason we are here today," he said. "They are the reason we do this."
    Billy Hickman, president of the United Way Board of Directors, said "This is pretty awesome. We're kind of going back to the grass roots - we're putting the fun back into United Way."
    Behind him stood a huge thermometer gauging the campaign's progress. With the amount  already collected by the pacesetter companies, the campaign is already at about 32 percent of its goal - which is $600,000, Olliff said.
    The sum " is our goal here in Bulloch County and I know we can do it," he said.

 

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