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Every Time A COW BELL Rings an Angel Gets His Wings

Need a little cheer to get you ready for the holidays?

The United Way of the Coastal Empire’s fundraising campaign was
still in its final stages as Effingham Magazine’s holiday deadline
wrapped up, but Effingham  chapter director Bonnie Dixon said the
organization had already surpassed its goal of $325,000.

“At this date and time Effingham County has collected and/or
pledged $336, 199 … which puts us at 103.45 percent of our goal!”
Dixon said November 13, seven days before the United Way’s November 20
deadline.

That’s par for the course in Effingham County, according to
Dixon. “United Way of the Coastal Empire has been in fundraising mode
even before the official kick-off in September,” she said. “Thanks to
our 2015 Campaign Pacesetters – Effingham Board of Education and
Georgia Power – Effingham’s United Way Advisory Board members and
staff conducted just shy of 20 campaign meetings in July and August.
The results were very gratifying with Effingham BOE employees donating
more than $77,000 and Effingham’s Georgia Power employees contributing
close to $18,000.”

The United Way paid homage to the holiday classic “It’s a
Wonderful Life” in its 2015 theme, and kicked off its official
fundraising season September 18 with a Roaring 20’s celebration. The
goal of $325,000 reflected the quarter-century the United Way has been
in Effingham. Led by Campaign Chair Andy Lamon, pastor at Gateway
Community Church, and Vice Chair Joe Tallent of Effingham Health
System, and with invaluable assistance from Georgia Pacific Savannah
River Mill Loaned Associates Sheila Patterson and Stephen Roddenberry,
the United Way mapped out its strategy for a successful campaign.”

Dixon said the loaned associates are invaluable.

“Georgia Pacific is such a wonderfully strong supporter of United
Way in Effingham.  The loaning to us of two of their employees for a
period of 3 months to basically conduct the enormous amount of
campaign presentations is beyond measure,” she said, noting Patterson
and Roddenberry “logged hundreds of miles traveling from Clyo to Eden
to Rincon and everywhere in between.”

Patterson said she saw something while preparing for the campaign
that summed up United Way to her.

“I came across an excerpt during our training the week before
campaign kick off it read,” she said. ‘One tree can start a forest,
one word can frame a goal, one candle can wipe our darkness, one laugh
can conquer gloom, one hope can raise your spirits, one touch can show
you care, one life can make a difference. Be that one today.’”

Patterson continued: “For me this excerpt represents the United
Way in the community. The United Way brings hope and touches lives in
our community in so many ways. For me, being involved with the United
Way is important because we never know when we may need the light
United Way brings to the community.

Combined, Patterson and Roddenberry called on more than 65 people
and made nearly 100 presentations to employee groups such as Effingham
County Government ($5,000), Kroger ($7,000), Wal-mart ($3,600), City
of Rincon ($2,264), City of Springfield ($805) and City of Guyton
($1,192), Ardry Trading Company ($2,604), Reiser & Reiser ($1,590),
Renasant Bank ($712), New Concepts Healthcare ($650) and BB&T ($644).

“In addition to the employee campaign, Georgia Pacific also
conducts several special fundraising events during the campaign
period.  Everything from Chic-Fil-a sandwiches sales to the plant
managers grilling hamburgers and hot dogs for the employees … then
they raffle off the grills,’ Dixon said, adding that Georgia Pacific
employees have contributed more than $188,000. We are most
appreciative of the generosity this community has.”

In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” there’s a line where the
Zuzu Bailey says “Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings
an angel gets his wings.”

It shouldn’t be surprising Effingham County, where cowbells are
used to signal donations to the United Way, has its own take on this.

“We translate that in Effingham to be “Every time a COW BELL
rings an angel gets his wings,” Dixon said.

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