09/10/10 — Superstar start

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Superstar start

By Staff Reports
Published in News on September 10, 2010 1:46 PM
Last update on: September 10, 2010 2:26 PM

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The Uniter, also known as Lynn Williams -- United Way 2010 campaign chairman -- and Dr. Doom, as played by local attorney Geoff Hulse, were two of the characters in Thursday's United Way campaign kickoff. The skit, which also included several other bit parts and an audience participation portion, was designed to remind those gathered -- and the community -- that by uniting together they will not only be able to meet the organization's $1,400,932 goal, but will help their neighbors as well.

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There was a good guy, a bad guy and plenty of "pows," wows and spirit as the United Way of Wayne County kicked off

its 2010-11 campaign Thursday at the Paramount Theater.

Campaign chairman Lynn Williams, as known as The Uniter, welcomed the audience to the festivities, which marked the first step toward meeting the organization's goal of $1,400,932.

The campaign theme for the year is "Together We Can Be Super."

The plot of the skit that marked the unconventional kickoff was simple: Dr. Doom, played by local attorney and United Way supporter Geoff Hulse, launched his dastardly plot to keep Wayne County residents from caring about their neighbors and the challenges they face. The "evil of inactivity," he said, would derail any effort to assist those in need.

Then, along came The Uniter, aka Mrs. Williams, who reminded the community just how much power it has to influence the lives of others. Together, Mrs. Williams and the community -- as played by the audience -- defeat Dr. Doom.

Dean Tino of Wayne Memorial Hospital manned the audience cue cards, while Ken Derksen of the Wayne County School District handled announcer duties. There to chronicle the rise and fall of Dr. Doom was Hal Tanner III, the publisher of the News-Argus most days, but eager young reporter for the evening.

The audience participated -- as did several other guest super heroes -- all determined to give what they could to make a difference in their community.

And that united effort, along with the 28,018 lives that will be touched by the efforts of United Way supporters and the partner agencies that help bring services to this community, are really what matter, Mrs. Williams said.

By uniting efforts of people of all walks of life, and by pushing hard to reach the organization's $1.4 million goal, residents can battle the effects of such community concerns as teenage pregnancy, poverty, lack of available and affordable health care as well as the need to show teens that they can have a better life, she said.

She encouraged those gathered to do what they could -- whether that be a donation of any size to the organization or to volunteer hours.

"It doesn't matter how big or small you are, you can make a difference in Wayne County," she said.

As part of the opening, Mrs. Williams honored local businesses that were this year's Frontrunners -- those who have already completed campaigns. She acknowledged not just the dollars raised, but the lives that will be affected by the companies' donations.

Those recognized included:

• Moffatt Oil Co., which raised $1,890, which will, in turn, affect 37 lives, had five Fair Share givers and a leadership donor.

• Cooper Bussmann, which raised $13,767 (an increase of 49 percent), which will affect 275 lives, had 62 Fair Share donors and one leadership investor.

• Wayne Realty and Insurance, which raised $3,049, which will affect 61 lives, had six Fair Share donors and one leadership investor.

• Jackson and Sons, which raised $10,758 (an increase of 2 percent), which will affect 215 lives, had 24 Fair Share donors and four leadership investors.

• Southco, which, so far, has raised $17,159 (an increase of 3 percent), which will affect 343 lives, had 117 Fair Share givers and two leadership investors.

• Piedmont Natural Gas, which raised $16,425, (an increase of 1 percent), which will affect 328 lives, and had 32 Fair Share givers.

• Turner Equipment Co., which raised $6,095 (an increase of 33 percent), which will affect 122 lives, had 21 Fair Share donors and one leadership investor.

All those early returns, as well as other contributions already received, have put the United Way of Wayne County more than 20 percent of the way toward the 2010 goal, Mrs. Williams said.

She reminded those gathered that the entire process had to be wrapped up by Dec. 16 -- when the United Way will have its campaign finale.

At the event in December, 20 lucky winners chosen from among the Fair Share investors, those who donate one hour's pay per month, will try their keys to see if they have won a 2011 Mazda 2, which has been donated by Frema Motors.

To start the ball rolling, two names were drawn by Jo Ann Tillman of Frema Motors -- April Faison and Jonathan Bonilla of Southco Distributing.