By DAN HEATH
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The 2013 United Way of the Adirondack Region fundraising campaign is starting off 18.5 percent of the way to its $775,000 goal.
Pacesetter contributions announced at the annual Campaign Kickoff Breakfast on Friday totaled $143,412. United Way of the Adirondack Region Executive Director John Bernardi said that was an impressive number.
“Pacesetters are really important — 18.7 percent is really good for September,” he said.
Bernardi welcomed 2013 Campaign Chair Gayle Alexander of Denton Publications.
“As usual, during my time here, I’m blessed with another wonderful chairperson,” he said.
Alexander said it is important for business and community leaders to spread the word about what the agency does for the community and its 41 partner agencies
“As you move out into the community, we need to make sure the United Way is on everybody’s lips,” she said.
Bernardi said the United Way of the Adirondack Region and its partner agencies help about 80,000 people throughout the region each year.
“In these times, we cannot rely on government to meet all these needs,” he said.
Rod Giltz of Northern Insuring said that when he returned to the region 50 years ago to start his career, his father stressed the importance of giving back to the community. He said it is crucial for businesses to make sure employees know how important the United Way is, especially since the annual campaign is employee based.
“We are the disciples. We can go out and sell that to the community,” he said.
Media Central once again produced the video that promotes the campaign and its theme this year, “Follow the Dollar.”
“When you follow the dollar, you can really see the impact it makes on our friends and neighbors,” Bernardi said in the video.
Tim Boshart, operations manager at Georgia-Pacific, said the company and its employees genuinely enjoy helping people.
“The United Way does a lot of great things for our community, so I’m passionate about helping people, and this is an organization that does that and does it more effectively than any individual can do,” he said.
Mountain Lake Services Executive Director Marty Nephew said their Early Intervention Program serves children from birth to 3 years old. Because of the agency’s funding, that program usually runs at a deficit, but the United Way helps alleviate that.
Elizabethtown Community Hospital CEO Rod Boula said he sees how important United Way funding is to so many organizations throughout the region.
“A lot of our employees contribute to the United Way campaign, and we are very proud of that,” he said.
Chesterfield Town Supervisor Gerald Morrow said the Keeseville Knights of Columbus is once again holding a harvest dinner, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the United Way. That event is set for 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct 13.
Turkey dinners with all the trimmings will cost $10, with children younger than 5 free. Takeout meals will be available, Morrow said.
The 2013 goal is the same as the 2012 amount, which was met by February. This year’s pacesetters are just a bit behind the 2012 effort, which raised $155,913 — 20.1 percent — by the Kickoff Breakfast.
In closing, Bernardi said United Way continues to have clout with the media and businesses because they realize the impact the organization has on the community. While the pacesetter funding is important, he said, it is equally important that people continue to contribute as the campaign moves forward.
“I want to thank everybody,” he said. “This community is really amazing.”
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2013 UNITED WAY PACESETTERS