Question: How is the United Way drive going?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 10, 2007

Column by Karol Held, Touch a Life

Earlier this month I had the privilege of speaking to the Golden K Kiwanis club, and after giving my spiel on United Way and asking for help, I asked for questions and comments. A gentleman observed, &8220;I&8217;ve been reading a lot in the paper about people who are considering moving to town and how they look at the schools and the medical facilities before they decide. In my day, when we considered moving, we asked &8216;How is the United Way drive going?&8217; That was a perfect indication of the caring and generosity of the community.&8221;

That remark stopped me in my tracks! I am proud to say that our campaign has reached 50.1 percent, which says something wonderful about this community.

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Along the way in this campaign I&8217;ve met wonderful people, including a Senior Resource driver who had a story to tell.

He was scheduled to drive an elderly woman to an appointment with her doctor. When he went to get his car, he was surprised to see that his wife had taken it, and left him with the truck &8212; which happened to be a very tall truck. When he went to the client&8217;s door, he explained the situation and asked if that would be a problem for her. She was willing to try, and after a little boosting and shoving, she got into the passenger seat.

When the driver got her settled, he asked, &8220;Are you OK?&8221;

She looked at him with a gleam in her eye and called out &8220;Giddy-up, go!&8221;

That&8217;s the spirit of adventure we find in a lot of the people who use Ride Services and it might even be a good theme for United Way. &8220;Giddy-up, go!&8221;

One school day this fall, I went to my granddaughter&8217;s kindergarten room to drop something off for her. The young woman who came to the door noticed my United Way nametag. She proudly told me that she always gives to United Way.

I thanked her and told her that we appreciate all the support we&8217;ve been given. Then she told me her story.

Years earlier, she was a single parent having trouble making ends meet and she decided she needed a better job to make a life for herself and her young daughter. She went to a local school for information about how to continue her education, and she was worried because she didn&8217;t have anybody to care for her child.

Somebody at that school referred her to The Children&8217;s Center, and through their sliding-fee scale she was able to send her daughter for day care for an amount she was able to pay. This young woman found out much later that the sliding-fee scale is one of the programs funded with help from the United Way. Now she always contributes to the United Way so that others can get the help they need, and the help that she herself received.

Our 2007 campaign will officially end Nov. 30. If you haven&8217;t made your contribution, please search your heart and donate what you can. If you have already made your contribution, thank you for supporting the agencies that are there to help the people of Freeborn County.

Karol Held is the 2007 campaign co-chairwoman for the United Way of Freeborn County.