Itty, bitty motorcycle ride marks end of the United Way campaign
By Anessa Myers
Published in News on December 7, 2007 1:45 PM
It was a cold Thursday night, but United Way campaign members were fired up -- one almost literally -- about the money raised so far during the 2007-08 campaign.
"You're going to see just how fired up I am in a little bit," Jimmie Ford, this year's campaign chairman, said at the celebration at Goldsboro Chrysler Dodge Jeep.
And about 30 minutes later, as Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" blared over the loudspeakers, Ford was ready to ride through his own fiery circle, dressed in leather from head to toe.
But he didn't get to ride his usual full-sized motorcycle.
He used a much smaller one for the campaign's last "Bring It On" challenge.
And "our local Evil Knievel," as master of ceremonies Amy Cain called him, didn't just ride through the ring of fire once.
He did it twice.
Afterward, co-master of ceremonies Geoff Hulse handed the microphone back to the daredevil Ford.
"You don't smell like you're burning, so I'll turn it over to you," Hulse said.
Ford said he was fired up because this year's United Way campaign raised $1,327,566 that will be used to improve the lives of 26,551 people in Wayne County.
"That's good," Ford told the assembled crowd. "Let's give ourselves another hand."
The amount raised was less than the $1.4 million goal set earlier in the year, but Ford emphasized that the drive to raise money will continue.
"We have not given up," he said. "We will work to the end of the month to close the gap."
But to do that, it will take a community-wide effort, he said, noting the great need to help improve the lives of so many of the county's residents. Ford urged campaign members to not stop working until the goal is met.
One life in particular was improved Thursday, but it wasn't with campaign money.
Heather Fulghum-King, a registered nurse at Wayne Memorial Hospital, won a Jeep Compass -- the grand prize of the campaign. People who gave their "fair share" during the campaign were eligible.
Several of the finalists checked the keys they had drawn to see if they fit the Jeep but stepped away disappointed.
But when Mrs. Fulghum-King stepped up and tried her key, she gasped as the door opened.
All grins and giggles, she said she was in "total shock" that she had won.
"It's a five-speed, and I don't know how to drive that," she said, laughing. "I hope my husband can get it home."
The rest of the fair-share finalists didn't go home empty-handed.
They all received United Way fold-out travel chairs and even more important, knew they had done their part in making Wayne County a better place for all of its residents.
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