11/11/07 — United Way sets sights on final campaign lap

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United Way sets sights on final campaign lap

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 11, 2007 2:14 AM

Wayne County United Way is in the final lap of this year's campaign, which ends Dec. 6, but still needs the community's help to cross the finish line.

Adopting a racing motif as the theme, officials launched its "Bring It On" meet-the-goal challenge Friday night.

This year's campaign chairman, Jimmie Ford, introduced as the "crew chief," was decked out for the occasion in his black leather motorcycle outfit.

"Wayne County, we need your help to cross the finish line. We need a big push on the last lap," he said.

To date, the campaign has attained $974,981, or 67 percent of the goal, Ford said. That translates to support for 19,500 people.

"This last lap is a long one, so we need to make the best of it, so bring it on!" he cheered.

Ford said he was ready for the final sprint and once it's completed, "One of the first words I'm going to say is, Hallelujah!"

Goldsboro Mayor Al King said there is still much to be done to accomplish the goal of raising more than $1.44 million, and issued challenges to elected officials, businesses and surrounding communities to make it happen.

"Let's get the whole community -- not just Goldsboro, not just Mount Olive -- but Fremont, Pikeville, Eureka, we need to reach out to Seven Springs," he said. "We need to get everybody involved in this."

There are also some specific events planned to raise funds.

On Thursday, Dr. Steve Taylor, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, referred to by King as the "Pizza Inntendent," and members of the Junior Leadership class will be waiting tables at the Pizza Inn on U.S. 70 West from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Donations will benefit the community campaign.

"Resident Elf" Senator John Kerr will be assisted by an unnamed "Grinch" as well as Santa Claus on Nov. 23 from 2 to 3 p.m. at Berkeley Mall.

"I'm kind of worried about who the Grinch is," Kerr said. "But this is a great way we work together in this county. I would say, as you race people say, 'Gentlemen, start your engines!"

On Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m. the Greater Wayne County Golf Classic, or "Politicians Putt'in People First," will be held at the All Stars Miniature Golf Course, at the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Cashwell Drive.

"I have challenged other mayors and county officials to at least 18 holes of golf," King said.

Other plans for the wrap-up include a challenge from the N.C. Community Federal Credit Union-sponsored softball team against a United Way team. The United Way team will be coached by Jerry Narron and George Whitfield, with the game to be played Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club on Royall Avenue.

Mount Olive College is challenging any group to a round of "Frisbee Golf" at the college on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m.

The Tuscarora Council of the Boy Scouts will conduct a Dutch Oven Cook-off at Old Waynesborough Park, with the date to be announced once the governor's burning ban has been lifted.

But the grand finale will be the checkered flag event, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Goldsboro Chrysler Dodge Jeep.

It will be "Jimmie Ford's ride to glory," King said. "He will be at the ready on a high-powered cycle as he races toward what I understand will be a ring of fire.

"Just imagine Jimmie Ford racing to a ring of fire. I'm told this will be the first time that this stunt has ever been tried in Wayne County."

It will also be a time to celebrate the giving spirit of this community, King said.

"We need to get everybody involved in this," he said. "We need all of you to issue challenges to make sure that employees and employers fill out the forms indicating that they want to participate in United Way. We want all of you to reach down deep in your pockets and make contributions like we haven't made before.

"When we act on the concerns of others, we're all winners."

Ford said the ultimate goal is to raise enough money to improve the lives of 29,200 people, "and we have 29,200 people who are waiting on us to do just that."