As part of its platform, the United Way continually calls on communities to give, advocate and volunteer. Liberty County clearly has the market cornered when it comes to advocating and volunteering, and now local residents, businesses and organizations are hard at work on the giving aspect, too.
Thursday night’s United Way of Liberty County kickoff party and Volunteers of the Year awards ceremony called attention to the amazing efforts of the people who make this community special through tireless work, dedication and compassion for those in need. The Volunteer of the Year awards, co-sponsored by the Coastal Courier and the United Way, recognized charitable efforts in six categories. They were:
• Youth Volunteer of the Year: Andrew Manard
• Youth Organization of the Year: Liberty County High School student body
• Civic Organization of the Year: Kiwanis Club of Liberty County
• Social Club of the Year: Sistaz and Soljaz with Vizionz
• Individual Volunteer of the Year: Layton Gilroy
• Soldier Volunteer of the Year: Sgt. 1st Class Lori McCampbell
Congratulations certainly are in order for these individuals and groups, whom we are privileged to honor now and in years to come as the volunteer awards become an annual event. Let’s hope they will serve as shining examples for local residents and businesses as the United Way’s inspirational army of foot soldiers traverses the area over the next few weeks in search of donations, pledges and grants in an attempt to meet this year’s campaign goal of $195,000 before the Nov. 15 deadline. The total campaign goal for the United Way of the Coastal Empire is $8,777,007.
Given the condition of the economy, it’s no secret that the need for assistance has risen. Without aid from the charities and organizations funded by the United Way, people will suffer. Unmet qualify-of-life needs directly affect the community as a whole, bringing down morale and taking a toll on the socioeconomic climate as residents are forced to do without.
It’s time to be part of the solution. The wonderful thing about giving to the United Way is the assurance that donations undoubtedly will be used as they are intended.
So follow the wonderful example set by our Volunteers of the Year and do everything you can to help the United Way reach its goal. This is not just another fundraiser. This is a chance to be an enthusiastic participant in something that truly touches the lives of those who are most in need.