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United Way campaign receives record funds

The 2016 Unicoi County United Way fundraising campaign resulted in an early Christmas present for the organization’s board members, volunteers and supporters last week.
During a victory luncheon held on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center, Lee Brown, president of the Unicoi County United Way, announced that the campaign raised $147,953 – the most ever raised during an annual campaign in the county. The goal was $105,000.
“We had a record year,” Brown said. “… It takes everyone’s help – from the smallest donation to the largest to pull this off. Thank you so much for what you have done to support this community and for giving (Unicoi County United Way) the opportunity to help so many others.”
The near-$150,000 raised will be used to support several organizations that serve Unicoi County and its residents. According to information distributed at last week’s event, the organizations and the amount given to them by the local United Way include: $3,000 to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); $2,000 to the Children’s Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District; $4,500 to CHIPs; $24,000 to the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center; $3,500 to Col. J.F. Toney Memorial Library; $4,000 to Contact Ministries, Inc.; $3,000 to the Unicoi County Little League; $6,000 to the Habitat for Humanity of Unicoi County; $2,500 to the Monroe Foundation; $5,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank; $2,000 to the Sequoyah Council of the Boy Scouts of America; $1,600 to the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center; $2,800 to Unicoi County 4-H; $10,000 to the Unicoi County Family YMCA; $1,300 to the Unicoi County Health Department; $1,000 to the Unicoi County Literacy Program; $11,000 to the Unicoi County Public Library; $4,500 to the Unicoi County Shoe Fund; $10,000 to the Unicoi County Student Backpack Program; and $2,000 to the Unicoi County Student Dental Program.
In addition to these appropriations, contingency funds were also distributed by United Way to local organizations. Board member Sherry Whitson said during last week’s luncheon that contingency funds are awarded to organizations that request special funding. These funds went to the Unicoi County Heritage Museum, Erwin Kiwanis Club Shopping Tour, Erwin Utilities Good Samaritan Fund, Imagination Library and Manna Storehouse Food Pantry.
At the beginning of last week’s ceremony, videos created by Unicoi County students describing what United Way does and how it impacts the county, were played. The students who created the videos were then recognized and presented awards by Whitson.
Students producing the video from Natalie Bishop’s fifth grade class at the Unicoi County Intermediate School were Abby Buchanan and Seth Hopson. The elementary school video was produced by Temple Hill students Shannon Vaughn and Xavier Owens, with the assistance of librarian Ethan Thompson. The high school video was produced by students Caleb Bocock, Ian Miller, Matthew Szucs and Kevin Higgins under the direction of teacher Lori Ann Wright.
Board member Denny Bokemeier also recognized the businesses and industries which supported the fundraising campaign. These were: Nuclear Fuel Services; Regal Beloit/Morrill Motors; Impact Plastics/Preston Tool & Mold; Erwin Utilities; Unicoi County Memorial Hospital; Unicoi County School System; Unicoi County Gas Utility District; NN, Inc.; IMC, LLC; United Steelworkers Local #9677; and Foam Products.
To sum up how he felt about the record year, Brown read this quote from an unknown author to close the luncheon: “If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.”
Brown then said, “I think you’ve touched the future and so many lives will be affected by your efforts. Thank you, again for your hard work and for what you have done to support your community.”