United Way kickoff set

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 13, 2002


LULING – United Way of St. Charles Parish plans to “cook up some campaign magic,” Thursday according to the invitation to its 2002 fund-raising campaign kickoff event.

This year’s goal is $1.6 million, even more than the amount raised in last year’s campaign, Executive Director George Williamson said. The 2001 campaign raised $1,480,691.96.

“We’re optimistic and excited,” Williamson added.

The campaign is already off and literally running, since the Hale Boggs Bridge Run, held April 13, raised $30,584.47 for this year’s campaign.

More than 2,000 participants swelled the ranks of runners and walkers across the Hale Boggs Bridge in United Way of St. Charles’s largest fund-raising event of the year, outside the campaign itself.

Co-sponsored by Orion Refining Co. Of Norco, the bridge run is considered one of the premiere running events of Louisiana, according to New Orleans Track Club director Chuck George.

However, it is the campaign itself conducted each fall which raises the bulk of the funds, split among 36 agencies, serving youth, the elderly, medical and counseling needs.

This year’s president is Mark Weavil of Monsanto, and the campaign chairman is Mike Rio of Dow-St. Charles Operations.

“We’ve got a real, good group of people dedicated to serve this community and I rely on them quite heavily,” Williamson continued.

This year’s campaign committee includes Roy Breaud for major industry, Fay Caire for parish government, Capt. Patrick Yoes for the sheriff’s office, Greg Mollere for business (working with Ginger Carpenter, Corey Faucheux, Stan Dufrene, Brian Brimmer and V.J. St. Pierre), Greg Miller for the law community, Melanie Andrews for local dentists, Brandt Dufrene for financial institutions, Fred Martinez for the hospital and medical personnel, Regina McMillan for the school system, Clyde Gisclair for major landowners, Pam Hollins for retirees, Bryan Abadie for the annual jambalaya cook-off and Eric Bluth for the bridge run.

The executive committee, joining Weavil, includes Vice-President Larry Palme, Treasurer Ray King and members Jim Adams, Eric Bluth, Pam Hollins, Ron Loving, Greg Mollere, Margaret Swann, Rochelle Touchard and Pat Yoes.

Last year’s campaign, which opened on the heels of the Sept. 11 disaster, gave campaign volunteers cause for concern as to how much they could raise, with so much going to disaster relief funds. Instead, the campaign achieved a record year of more than $1.4 million raised.

“We didn’t know what we would get, but it turned out positive,” Williamson observed.

He credited the continued success of United Way in St. Charles Parish to the people recognizing the good work the agency does in forwarding contributions to the agencies.

What’s more, Williamson said, the volunteer base continues to expand and, he concluded, “When we leverage our resources together, we can do so much more.”