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The United Way of Florence County, with only days left, managed to secure $1.2 million worth of pledges for the 2011/2012 STRONGER TOGETHER Campaign.  This feat was celebrated at their Annual Luncheon & Awards Celebration held on Tuesday, April 3 at the SiMT building on the campus of Florence-Darlington Tech.

“Yesterday evening, we were still $4,000 short of our goal, so the whole staff started calling anyone we knew who had not made a pledge yet.  Many people, including members of our own Board, rallied and we were able to hit the mark by close of business,” says Wendy Bird, Vice President of Campaigns for United Way of Florence County.  Wendy, who has been with the United Way for 16 years, told the audience that it was their constant support that makes her want to stay at the United Way, calling the audience members inspiring and a delight to work with. 

Lisa Peterson of Honda of SC, Mfg. and Campaign Chair, was so excited by the outcome of the campaign that she inspired some of the audience members to break out into dance.  The flash mob, made up of community volunteers and members of the Florence-Darlington Tech Stingers men’s baseball team thrilled the audience to the appropriate words of the Spencer Davis Group, “I’m so glad we made it.”

Campaign Awards were given out to companies participating in the campaign, highlighting achievement in dollars raised, spirit and campaign organization.  

The Ashpy P. Lowrimore Award, awarded for the past 11 years to a Florence County resident who models Ashpy Lowrimore’s example of humanity, generosity and leadership, was presented to Arthur E. Justice Jr. of Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney PA.  Art has intricately woven himself into the framework of civic opportunities in Florence over the last 20 years, serving on various local boards, often concurrently.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors at the United Way of Florence County and Florence County Progress.

The United Way of Florence County has been a cornerstone of the social service sector in Florence County for nearly 60 years.  The United Way Annual Campaign supports the on-going efforts of 19 partner agencies whose programs benefit residents of Florence County as well as the initiatives of the United Way which include the Volunteer Corps, STUFF the Bus, Day of Caring, Project H.O.P.E. and 2-1-1.

“What I was surprised to learn was how many of these agencies rely very heavily on the United Way for operational expenses,” explains Lisa Peterson.  “In a very real way, some programs and whole agencies would not exist without the efforts of the United Way.” 

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