United Way kicks off ’99 campaign
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 11, 1999
Surrounded by yellow tape, ladders and other tools of the construction trade, volunteers kick off the United Way’s 1999 fund drive campaign with a goal of raising $425,000.
Saturday, September 11, 1999
Surrounded by yellow tape, ladders and other tools of the construction trade, volunteers kick off the United Way’s 1999 fund drive campaign with a goal of raising $425,000. This year’s theme is &uot;Caring builds hope.&uot;
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&uot;Our community is under construction,&uot; Jean Eaton, United Way volunteer, informed those gathered at the kick off breakfast Friday morning.
To motivate the volunteers present, Jared Heisler told the crowd about his first experience with the United Way and how it had changed his life.
A UPS account representative from Eagan, Minn., Heisler had many opportunities to participate in the United Way but chose not to help. Heisler admitted that he never supported the United Way until he needed their services.
&uot;In 1990, my daughter was born with a heart defect,&uot; he said.
Heisler and his wife began to rely on the United Way to help them find services for their daughter Alicia. The girl would have died without the operations funded by the United Way. Heisler added that they could not gone through the crisis on their own.
&uot;The United Way was there for me even though I was never there for them,&uot; he told volunteers.
After receiving services from the United Way, Heisler became heavily involved in the organization. In the early 1990s, Heisler was a driver for UPS and part of the loan labor program, through which UPS loaned drivers to the United Way. He’s now the coordinator of the program for UPS and contributing to the organization that prolonged the short life of his daughter.
Volunteers at the Friday’s event were visibly moved as Heisler told them of the death of his daughter in 1995.
&uot;I lost the one person who taught me to be a dad,&uot; Heisler said.
Although he hasn’t used United Way services since his daughter’s last operation, shortly before she passed away, he and his wife continue to volunteer for the group.
&uot;I could never pay the United Way back for all they’ve given me,&uot; Heisler said. &uot;They gave Alicia a chance. They gave us a chance to get to know her.&uot;
After quoting the first lyric of Garth Brook’s &uot;The Dance&uot; – Alicia’s favorite song – Heisler confided that his experience was painful. &uot;’I could’ve missed the pain, but I would’ve missed the dance,’&uot; he quoted as several audience members wiped away tears.
&uot;When we give our time and money back to the United Way, we give a lot of dances to a lot folks,&uot; Heisler concluded.
Marge Hamersly, the executive director of the Freeborn County United Way, called Heisler, &uot;an example of someone who thought he would never need the United Way.&uot;
Hamersly sought out Heisler after hearing him four years ago and found him just inspirational now as he was then.
&uot;I hope that we’ve inspired people to accomplish a mission,&uot; Hamersly said. &uot;We want to send them on their way to do the best they can.&uot;
Hamersly thinks the goal of $425,000, up from last year’s $415,000, is within reach.
&uot;We have a caring community. People here are very generous,&uot; she said.