01/19/05 — Success! United Way director puts the credit where it’s due

View Archive

Success! United Way director puts the credit where it’s due

Steve Parr was touched. He is the United Way director in Wayne County, and the astounding results of the 2004 campaign had been announced.

Parr is a rather humble fellow, and a couple of nights after the announcement he was talking about who should get credit for the success. Not him, he said. Donnie Barnes, who was the campaign chairman, and a whole army of volunteers helped raise the money.

But, he said, you know what? It’s the people of Wayne County who are responsible. The more the people of Wayne realize that they are a crucial part of the success or failure of the campaign, the more open and supportive they are to improving lives and our community through the United Way.

Parr has long preached that we don’t give to the United Way — we give through it.

During the campaign just ended, we gave more than $1,370,000. That was a record, and it exceeded a goal that had been set after a careful assessment of the community’s needs.

But, as Parr says, it isn’t just the money that is impressive. It’s the concern for one another that is reflected by the money.

People with needs are reached through a variety of nonprofit agencies. The United Way money goes to programs that fulfill needs that are identified in studies and interviews. All of this is done locally, by our neighbors working as volunteers.

“Why does the United Way ask each year for support of its goals of improving lives?” Parr wrote after the campaign.

“It is for the infants born to families prone to child abuse. It is for the young people who don’t have a supervised after-school environment to go home to. It is for the women and children who need a safe place to go to escape domestic violence. It is for the homeless who need food and shelter. It is for the hungry who don’t know where their next meal will come from. It is for the family who needs help to make ends meet because a job or jobs were lost.

“It is for our community.”

Published in Editorials on January 19, 2005 9:25 AM