United Way kicks off campaign

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

A year ago, the mood was different.

It was the kickoff for the 2001 campaign fund drive for the Mower County United Way.

The terrorist attacks occurred in the morning and the local chapter contemplated canceling the kickoff luncheon at the Austin Holiday Inn.

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"But we decided to go on," said campaign team member Tim Fritz.

A year later, in the same venue, approximately 80 people were seen laughing, shaking hands and eagerly anticipating the start of a new United Way fund drive.

But there were two common themes that were apparent both this year and last: optimism and generosity.

That's why the this year's goal is set for $775,000, up $75,000 from last year.

"This group is up to the challenge," said Austin's Jerry Adwell.

Fritz recalled during Tuesday's kickoff luncheon how last year's fund drive started. He said after seeing the generosity of the community, it was apparent the area's support of the United Way wasn't waning.

"There were very tense moments at the beginning of the campaign," Fritz said. "We kind of wondered if there would be an adverse effect here in Mower County.

"We couldn't have been more wrong."

Amy Baskin, the executive director of the Mower County United Way, agreed that after seeing the community's support last year, she's anxious to get this year's drive going.

"I'm really excited about this year," she said. "I really think we're going to make it."

Those in attendance watched a video, showing those who have directly benefited from the services the United Way provides on a local level. The local chapter contributes to 29 different nonprofit partner agencies.

"There's hundreds more people in the community that are utilizing these services," Baskin said.

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at :mailto:dan.fields@austindailyherald.com