United Way volunteers say, ‘What recession?’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 28, 2010

How did the staff and volunteers of the United Way of West Central Mississippi perform as the American economy tumbled into its worst recession since the Great Depression? They set an ambitious fundraising goal for a community the size of Vicksburg, went out and topped it.

Of course, raising more than $1.4 million wouldn’t have been possible without donors. So we say, again, how great it is to be in a community where local people respond to local needs. It gives us faith and encouragement that whatever challenges arise, folks here don’t sit back and watch. They get involved.

Congratulations to Todd Boolos, 2009 campaign chairman, who donated time from his own business, Boolos CPA firm, to lead the effort. And congratulations to new board chairman Felicia Gavin, general manager for DiamondJacks Casino, who said she plans to follow last year’s formula to drive another successful effort in 2010’s campaign. “Through these tough economic times, I think it’s really important that we step up to the plate,” she said. “This is the time the needs are the greatest.” She’s right, of course, and through corporate gifts, payroll deduction plans and individual pledges, people here can assist 20 member agencies provide essential services.

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Congratulations to those singled out for awards:

• Susan Loflin Johnston of Vicksburg Insurance Agency for leading the Pace-setter Campaign.

• Eddie Hamilton, Warren Central student and Bruce Alan Ebersole Jr. Memorial Scholarship Award recipient.

• Gail Kavanaugh of the Vicksburg Warren School District, Volunteer of the Year.

• Mark Buys, president of BancorpSouth, Leadership Award.

• Ameristar, Corporation of the Year.

• Patsy Hammack, VWSD transportation department, Campaign Coordinator of the Year.

• Entergy Grand Gulf, Traveling Leadership Award.

• Chris Chatham of Ameristar, Donor Investment Chair.

• Sharon Hanks with Engineering Research and Development, Donor Investment Volunteer of the Year.

• Herb Wilkinson of the YMCA, Agency Director of the Year.

• LeTourneau Inc., Spirit of Vicksburg Award.

But most of all congratulations to volunteers and donors. You care about your community. Your efforts and dollars make this a better place to live.