Local News

March 4, 2014

United Way celebrates ‘superheroes’ who contributed to $3.5M goal

‘We have risen to the challenge’

— It’s not as big as Metropolis and it doesn’t have as many problems as Gotham, but Dalton still needs its own “superheroes,” organizers with the United Way of Northwest Georgia say.

No, these heroes can’t fly, shoot laser beams out of their eyes or lift cars like gym rats lift dumbbells. But there is “still a plethora of superheroes who are out doing heroic deeds” by giving up a portion of their paychecks to help support the local nonprofit, said Celeste Creswell, United Way board chairwoman.

United Way officials and supporters spent Monday afternoon at Rock Bridge Community Church celebrating meeting their goal of raising $3.5 million last year through 9,548 individual contributions and 47 company donations, along with an additional $350,744 the nonprofit invested into education and health-related programs in the area.

The money helps community programs through organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs serving Chattooga, Gordon, Murray and Whitfield Counties, Meals on Wheels and the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center.

“As I reflect a year later, I have to say — we have risen to the challenge and exceeded even my own expectations,” Creswell said.

Bob Ringer, campaign chair for United Way, told the hundred-or-so volunteers and local business leaders at the celebration that their support means “thousands of lives are being improved in Whitfield and Murray counties.”

“During the campaign, companies and individual superheroes all across the community went the extra mile to fill the gaps in our community,” he said. “From the moment we kicked off (last year) ... I knew we had the support of the community.”

United Way leaders specifically named Brown Industries, Dalton Public Schools, Dalton Utilities, Dorsett Industries, Engineered Floors, J+J Flooring Group, Marketing Alliance and Shaw Industries as businesses that set an example of giving.

Ralph Boe, the recently retired president and CEO of Beaulieu of America, was named the 2014 recipient of the Live United award, an annual accolade that goes to an “outstanding individual ... who embraces the give, advocate and volunteer call to action of United Way,” Amanda Burt, United Way president, said.

“Ralph has been a staunch advocate of United Way within his company, with his peers and community-wide,” she said. “He led the company and its employees to invest almost $1 million over the last 10 years in United Way’s mission to improve lives.”

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