St. Charles United Way hits $1.2 million goal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 20, 2001


DESTREHAN – The “Pony Express rider” burst into the United Way of St. Charles Parish dinner, rooted into his saddlebag, and came up with an envelope which announced the 2000 fund-raising achievement. During the campaign, United Way of St. Charles received pledges of $1,247,917.35, zooming past its $1.2 million goal for the drive, according to campaign chairman Larry Palme of Basell USA Inc. The “rider” was actually Ron Oleksik of the River Region Drama Guild, one of the United Way agencies to benefit by the increased giving. The skit was the highlight of the evening at the Destrehan Plantation Mule Barn on Jan. 16. United Way also recognized achievements in increased giving by employees, schools and industries. United Way will distribute funding to 36 agencies and programs. In addition, airline tickets for two persons to anywhere in the continental United States was awarded to Edwin Funez of Kellogg, Brown & Root, cumulating a series of drawings among all one-hour per month givers to United Way in St. Charles Parish. The tickets were presented by Toni Meyer of River Parishes Travel Center. Pledges included: $1.017 million from major industry, $53,000 from industries with employees from St. Charles Parish; $50,000 from special events such as the golf tournament and bridge run; $49,000 from the hospital, sheriff’s office and government employees; $38,000 from school employees; $21,000 from federal employees; $9,000 from business; $5,700 from retirees, landowners and personal contributions; and $4,600 from organizations and employees of non-profit groups. Campaign team leader assisting Palme was Jas Gill of Cytec, who was named the 2001 campaign chairman. Jim Adams of American Express Financial Advisors was named president for the coming year. The campaign committee for the 2000 fund-raising drive also included Larry Owens, Maggie Castille, Fay Caire, Angela Todaro, Greg Mollere, Fred Martinez, Don Paul Landry, Brandt Dufrene, Clyde “Rock” Gisclair, Regina McMillan and Billy Thigpen. St. Charles Parish Hospital received a certificate of recognition for a 21 percent increase in giving in the government/hospital sector. In that same area the assessor, clerk of court, district judges, parish council and sheriff’s offices all reported increases. Among small businesses, AM-PM Temporary Services received recognition for increasing its contributions by 61 percent. In the education sector, Albert Cammon Middle School received special recognition with a whopping 344 percent increase in contributions. In this same area, Alternative Programs increased by 147 percent, Destrehan High School by 88 percent and J.B. Martin Middle School by 79 percent, among other increases. The major industry sector leader in increasing contributions was Turner Industries, a manpower supply company, which increased by 267 percent. Other major improvements came from Crompton Corp., with 142 percent; Orion Refining Corp., with 46 percent; and Shell Chemical Co., with 40 percent. Community leadership awards recognizing highest levels of per capita giving were also presented. In the education sector, Central Office employees gave at a per capita level of $66.22. The major industry with the highest per capita level of giving was at Nexen Chemicals, formerly CXY, which gave at $212.42. Corporate leadership awards were presented to companies which donated a gift greater than $50 per employee and recognizing the company making the greatest corporate gift per employee. Nexen Chemicals gave at $212.42, matching employee contributions. Shell Chemical also presented a gift of $35,000, and Orion Refining gave a $25,700 gift. Good Neighbor Awards went to those schools and companies with the highest percentage of employees giving at the one-hour-per-month level. In the education sector, New Sarpy Kindergarten led with 15 percent of employees. In the major industry sector, Carter Chambers led with 79 percent of employees. Additionally, Nexen Chemicals, Union Carbide-Star and Union Carbide-Cypress all had more than 50 percent of their employees. Executive Director George Williamson thanked the United Way staff and all involved in the fund-raising drive’s success.