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United Way blasts off to raise $1.8 million

Johnny Sauls, safety coordinator for Ergon Refining, prepares to launch a rocket made from a plastic water bottle during the 2001 Uni-ted Way Campaign kickoff Tuesday night. (The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN

[08/15/01] Using a science fiction and space exploration theme, the United Way of West Central Mississippi Tuesday launched the 2001 campaign to raise $1.8 million.

The money will be used to help fund 24 agencies that provide social services. Last year, the United Way campaign raised $1.67 million toward a goal of $1.8 million.

“I would like to count on each of you talking to your family and friends to make this thing work,” said W. Briggs Hopson III, chairman of the 2001 campaign. “With the support of this group and those who contributed to the United Way in the past, we can do this thing.”

Hopson then asked each person to talk to at least one other person, explaining what United Way is and what it can mean to the community and the member agencies.

“Make sure that person gives something back to the community,” he said.

Later in the program, Sue Bagby, campaign director acting as flight controller, challenged United Way supporters “to go where no man or woman has gone before” to reach the goal.

As part of the theme, the kickoff featured a contest to build and launch rockets made from plastic water bottles.

Winners of the design competition were RiverHills Bank, first; Anderson-Tully Co., second; and Trustmark National Bank, third.

In the competition to see which team could launch its rocket the greatest distance, first place went to the team from Anderson-Tully consisting of Jason Burnside, Stan Priest and Steve Rogers.

In second place was the team from the City of Vicksburg, Mayor Laurence Leyens, South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman and North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young.

In third place was the team from The Vicksburg Post, Wes Ming, Matt Gordon and Elizabeth Hamby.

Member agencies of the United Way are: American Red Cross, Arthritis Foundation, Boy Scouts Andrew Jackson Council, Child Abuse Prevention Center, Christian Volunteer Service, Community Council/RSVP, Epilepsy Foundation, Middle Mississippi Girl Scouts, Good News Jail and Prison Ministries, Good Shepherd Community Center, Haven House Family Shelter, HIV Services, Magnolia Speech School, Warren County Children’s Shelter, Bridge at Signal Hill, Salvation Army, United Way Community Services Office, Vicksburg Early Education Center, Vicksburg Family Development Service, USO, Warren County Association for Retarded Citizens MIDD-West, Warren Yazoo Community Mental Health Services, We Care Community Services and YMCA.