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United Way holds kickoff for North Bryan County
UnitedWay newlaptop
Pembroke Telephone Company’s Community Action Committee donated the first computer to Family Connections six years ago. At the North Bryan United Way kickoff, Tara Jennings, executive director of Bryan County’s Special Services and a United Way board member, accepted a new laptop from Eric Anderson, the Telephone Company’s Information Systems manager and tech support. - photo by Photo by J. Holthaus


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The United Way for Bryan County held its North Bryan County kickoff at the Black Creek Golf Course on Wednesday, to help raise awareness in the north side of the county.

Dell Keith, campaign chair of the United Way of Bryan County, spoke to the North Bryan business community about why United Way is important for Bryan County.

"In the last three years, we have been able to make some tremendous headway in educating our community," Keith said.

"About three years ago, we hired a director for the United Way for Bryan County, Miss Janice Blunt; she’s done an excellent job for us. And we’ve also opened an office in Pembroke, and Janice is spending a couple of days a week up there, making sure we’re meeting needs on both ends of the county."

Blunt said this was the first official United Way kickoff in the north end of the county.

"It really was more of an explanation, more than anything else," she said. "We decided since we’re new in North Bryan, we really wanted to discuss the United Way. We’re really excited about it."

Keith said the latest contribution to the county this year was a $10,000 grant that went to the Juvenile Diversion Program, to help discourage youth offenders from repeating.

"That’s something that not many people know that we have available out there – and it’s money that was raised through United Way," he said.

As Keith explained, there are several different ways local businesses and residents can help United Way make a difference in Bryan County.

"First of all, as a company, we would love the opportunity to get into your place of business and share the United Way message. From the business side, being able to let us get in there and tell our story, there’s no real obligation to it – we’re just looking for the opportunity," he said.

For individuals interested in helping, by donating $12 a month, or $144 a year, there are 18 programs that can be helped.

The $144 could provide over five prescriptions of life-sustaining medication, three wigs for chemotherapy patients, or 600 pounds of food to those in need, among several others.

Additionally, United Way has taken on a fundraiser this year.

"We’re going to have a golf ball drop. We’ve got a helicopter from the Army Reserve, and we’re going to drop hopefully somewhere around 1,000 golf balls at the new Sterling Links golf course, and we’re selling those golf balls for $10 a piece. We’ll have one hole, and the helicopter will hover over it and drop the golf balls, and the first one in the hole, or closest to it, will be the winner of a golf cart that we had donated. So it’s a real nice prize and that’s another opportunity to try to get involved with what we’re trying to accomplish," Keith said.

United Way’s goal this year is to raise $70,000.

"We’re excited about this," Keith said. "We think this ought to be a no-brainer for Bryan County, and certainly if we can get both ends of the county involved."

Before the kickoff ended, Mayor Judy Cook said a few words about what United Way has meant to North Bryan County and Pembroke.

"I just can’t say enough good things about it," she said. "Yesterday we got an email from Janice about a family in our community that needed clothes for their children. The call went out, and clothes were delivered today for those needy children. So it’s not only money – there’s other ways you can donate. Any way that any of you businesses that can help us, monetarily or any way, it will be appreciated."

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