04/06/08 — Red Cross reaches '08 Heroes goal

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Red Cross reaches '08 Heroes goal

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on April 6, 2008 2:11 AM

With a slowing economy, the Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross volunteers and staff knew they had a challenge when they set their goal at $90,000 for this year's campaign.

But the organization's "heroes" came through once again, bringing in $91,021.

The announcement was made during a wrap-up luncheon Friday at the Red Cross chapter.

The month-long fundraiser collects money for local Red Cross services. The Heroes Campaign began six years ago with a goal of $25,000 that first year. But, as the needs of the community have increased, so has the need to raise more money, said Chuck Waller, director.

During the wrap-up luncheon, Waller related a story about a Salvation Army chapter in Chicago. He said it was a new volunteer's first day on the job and the other volunteers were telling him about an old woman who lived in a box near the chapter. They had tried and tried to get her to come to the shelter to no avail.

The new guy was revved up and decided he was going to be the one to get her to come in. He went to her and offered her help. She refused, saying she was fine.

Later that day, he went back and again asked her to come to the Salvation for some food and a shower. Again she refused.

Finally, the volunteer went back one last time. He bent over, kissed her on the forehead, picked her up and began carrying her to the Salvation Army. She cried, saying that for years people had come to her from the Salvation Army telling her that God loved her. But it wasn't until the new volunteer actually did something that she knew it was true.

Waller said that this year's heroes raised money as individuals and groups and through various events such as the Blue Knights' Ride for the Red.

"The spirit of what we're doing is getting bigger and bigger each year," he said.

During the luncheon, Samia Garner, director of development, gave out awards for the Pennies for a Purpose competition in the schools. She explained that the schools take huge water jugs, decorate them and set them out to collect pennies for the Heroes Campaign.

This year's winners were Brogden Primary, first, and Edgewood Community Devel-opment School, second, elementary schools; Eastern Wayne Middle School, middle schools; and Charles B. Aycock High School, high schools. Winners received $100 to be used for school programs.

Receiving special awards were three local schools, which raised more than $2,000 each. They were Brogden Primary, Eastern Wayne Middle and Norwayne Middle.

A total of 27 local schools participated in the Heroes Campaign this year, raising a total of $11,000.

Awards were presented for those individuals and businesses that have been heroes for five or more years. They were Allison Pridgen; Eastern Wayne Middle School; Sam's Club; Brantley, Jenkins and Riddle; Tri-County Electric; Convenient Glass; and George Whitfield.

Waller told those attending that people don't donate to the Red Cross; they donate through the Red Cross.

"You never know when somebody you love is going to need blood or CPR and first aid," he said. "You never know when a neighbor's house is going to burn down. It's because of people like you that we can be there for them when it does happen."