Suwannee Democrat

Local News

November 29, 2012

United Way Suwannee Valley raises over $292,000

Jasper — United Way of Suwannee Valley (UWSV) held their “Imagine Me” November Report Luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the PCS Conference Center in White Springs with a delicious meal of baked chicken, rice, steamed carrots and green salad, and topped off with a divine cheesecake for dessert. UWSV serves Hamilton, Lafayette, Suwannee and Columbia counties and Rita Dopp serves as the director.

PotashCorp General Manager Terry Baker welcomed the nearly 100 guests to the beautiful conference center set back in the woods of White Springs along the majestic Suwannee River.

“We’re a big mining operation, but we’re very, very proud of our reclamation and our environmental responsibility,” said Baker.

The conference center, Baker said, sits on mined out reclaimed land, and nearby Eagle Lake has been recreated.

“It’s such a beautiful setting and we’re always happy to be able to show off this conference center and welcome everybody here,” Baker said.

UWSV past president Mike McKee was the emcee of the program and introduced various speakers, including Danny Johnson, chair of the Hamilton County campaign and Walter McKenzie, vice mayor of White Springs who spoke on behalf of mayor Helen Miller on the United Way initiative in their town.

As the crowd was enjoying their first course salad, a video played on two large screens in the room. The video showed the devastation in the Suwannee Valley region after Tropical Storm Debby struck this past summer and how the United Way was there to help the victims who were flooded out of their homes by supplying food, clothing and housing. “You’ve Got a Friend”, a song made famous back in the 70s by Carole King and then James Taylor played in the background, as scenes of destruction flashed across the screen and brought back haunting memories to all in the room who were affected by the storm.

Kameron Robinson from Voices for Children/Guardian ad Litem gave a moving speech on the theme “Imagine Me” and how the United Way helps children in need.

Toward the end of the meeting the group played an unusual “Heads or Tails” game and all participants handed over $5 each to play the game.

The PotashCorp White Springs campaign has raised over $85,000 so far, which will be matched dollar for dollar by PotashCorp, according to Walt Henderson.

As of Wed., Nov. 14, after their second luncheon, UWSV has booked in contributions and pledges over $292,000, McKee said, which is 49 percent of their goal of $600,000 for the year.

“So, congratulations,” he told the group. “We’re halfway there.”

The next UWSV report luncheon will be held Dec. 12 at the Columbia County Senior Services Lifestyle Enrichment Center.

There are more photos online and photos are available for purchase. Go to (or and click the photo gallery link on the left navigation bar.

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