United Way Campaign Take-Off gets off the ground at Piper

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — United Way staff, dressed as snappy flight attendants, welcomed approximately 150 people aboard for the 2010-2011 Campaign Take-Off at Piper Aircraft. 

The aeronautical twist to the event was in celebration of Piper’s 50 year relationship with the United Way.  Theirs was the first campaign workplace and they have unwaveringly lent their support to United Way campaigns ever since.

“We thought that it would be very appropriate to do it here,” said Clair Brunetti, UW Director of Resource Development.  Commenting on the upcoming campaign she added, “We’re asking people to stretch. It’s becoming more apparent that the needs are growing.”

Special check-in gates were set up for Torch Bearer organizations; those who commit to raise at least $12,000 each year.  During the presentation, Torch Bearers held aloft the signs they had been given and, using various aviation related terms, encouraged others to join them in the Campaign Takeoff.

During the Torch Bearer Roll Call, CVS Distribution Center was recognized and applauded for their very successful campaign, which raised approximately $30,000.

“They’re right in our top ten and they’re only three years old,” said Lisa Djahed, UW Marketing Director.  “They’ve done an amazing job; just outstanding.”

The celebration also paid tribute to Alma Lee Loy and Jim Thompson as 50th Anniversary Honorary Chairs and to the contributions made over the years to the United Way by Dan K. Richardson.

“Jim Thompson worked on the first campaign in 1981 and has worked on every one ever since,” said Djahed.  “He’s held every United Way volunteer position there is, and is now Agency Director for the USO, a United Way partner agency.”

When asked how he first got involved Thompson smiled and said, “I started volunteering as a worker, and next thing I was right in the middle of it. The campaigns are never easy.  As the organization has grown, the goals have increased to meet the needs of the community.”

At the end of the evening’s Flight Plan, campaign captains Michael Kmetz and Melissa Medlock, announced a “United Air” goal of $2.4 million, an increase of $75,000 more than the $2.325 million raised last year. {igallery 297}

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