Lee Brown, president of the Unicoi County United Way, announces that the latest campaign surpassed its goal last week. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

By Keeli Parkey

Thanks to the generosity of the local community, the Unicoi County United Way met its latest fundraising goal – and then some.

During a luncheon held at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center on Thursday, Dec. 7, Lee Brown, president of the county’s United Way chapter, announced that the organization’s 2018 drive raised a total of $127,842 – almost $8,000 more than its goal of $120,000.

“I think we can all agree that we rise by lifting others and I think that is something each and every one of you are committed to,” Brown said. “I would like to thank you for your commitment to our community by giving to United Way and allowing us to help so many across our community.”

Unicoi County United Way provides funds to many organizations, including: The Rotary Club of Unicoi County, Unicoi County Family YMCA, Contact Ministries 211, Children’s Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District, Unicoi County Little League, Change is Possible (CHIPS) Family Violence Shelter, Unicoi County/Erwin Health Department, Unicoi County Shoe Fund, Second Harvest Food Bank, Sequoyah Council Boy Scouts of America, Clinchfield Senior Adult Center, Unicoi County Dental Schools Program and Backpack Program, Unicoi County 4-H, Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, Unicoi County Habitat for Humanity, The Monroe Foundation and CASA of Northeast Tennessee.

Because the 2018 fundraising goal was surpassed, the Unicoi County United Way was able to give these contingency funds to additional organizations, according to Brown.

“It always comes together and this community is so good at rising to the occasion to help someone else and I am so proud to be a part of that,” he said. “Through your generosity you have allowed us to continue to maintain funding to all the agencies that we normally fund.”

Frank Cooke, a board member of the Unicoi County United Way, presented checks for these extra funds to: Unicoi County Middle School, Rotary Club of Unicoi County, Unicoi County Heritage Museum and Clinchfield Railroad Museum, Erwin Kiwanis Club Foundation for the annual Christmas Shopping Tour, Imagination Library, Unicoi County Little League and Manna Storehouse Food Pantry.

United Way board member David Erickson recognized the 2018 campaign partners during the luncheon.

“This type of fundraising doesn’t happen without really good community partners,” Erickson said.

The 2018 campaign partners included: Erwin Utilities, Unicoi County Gas Utility District, Nuclear Fuel Services, Impact Plastics, United Steelworkers, NN Inc., Specialty Tires, Unicoi County School System, Foam Products Corporation, Unicoi County Memorial Hospital, Morrill Motors and IMC.

“Unicoi County is unique in the United Way world because the bulk of the dollar goes to the organizations that we help,” Erickson said. “… We are so proud that we have that type of a setup. Thank you so much for what you do.”

In his closing comments, Brown echoed that appreciation to all the groups and individuals who gave to the 2018 campaign.

“Thank you for what you do to make this community great,” Brown said.

The meal at the luncheon was catered by Hawg-N-Dawg. Entertainment was provided by the Unicoi County High School Bluegrass Band, led by director Lori Ann Wright and including members Adam Miller, Ben Edwards, Matthew Hatcher, Bailey Robinson, Hannah Edwards, Sarah Grace Larkey, Lucas Swinehart and Kaitlyn Rogers. UCHS student Elizabeth Sutphin offered the welcome and invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance to open the event.