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United Way honors Burnsed at campaign kickoff
Jimmy Burnsed
Former Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed, a longtime United Way volunteer, was honored for his contributions to the organization during the Bryan County area United Way's campaign kickoff Thursday, Sept. 15 in Richmond Hill.

The United Way of the Coastal Empire (UWCE) kickstarted their Bryan County fall giving campaign at Heartwood, Richmond Hill with a special commemoration for a local community leader.

A name familiar to many long-time Bryan County residents, Jimmy Burnsed is a retired banker who helped establish SouthState Bank in Richmond Hill, where he served as Senior Vice-President. He was also the chairman of the Bryan County Board of Commissioners for 12 years.

Burnsed’s decades-long charity work with United Way earned him the inaugural Bryan County Community Spirit Award, which will be named after him in following years.

In front of a warm crowd of around 200 guests, Burnsed gave thanks to his wife and colleagues and was optimistic for this upcoming fall campaign.

“I trust that this will be the greatest campaign that Richmond Hill, Pembroke, and Bryan County will have because there’s so much need out there,” Burnsed said.

Jay Wilson, mill manager at International Paper-Savannah, was also announced as this year’s United Way campaign chair.

And UWCE’s slogan for the campaign kickoff–”We’re on a roll, let’s get to work”--certainly gave Wilson some space for paper-themed puns.  

“United Way is on a roll, making a bigger and bigger impact in this region than ever before, improving the lives of more people year after year,” Wilson said, to both laughter and applause from the room.

Kathryn Downs, Bryan County’s regional campaign chair, helped to wrap up proceedings by announcing the contributions from Pacemakers—companies and organizations who have donated the most to United Way.

A total of $437,269 was raised between 19 different Pacemakers, with PAC Fiber of Pembroke leading the way, according to Downs.

“With unprecedented economic development, business investment, and job creation, there will be growing pains and challenges [in Bryan County] in areas like housing, childcare, and literacy.” Downs said.

“We have to continue improving lives every day, and together we can meet the demands of our region.”

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