With the help of a cheerleading squad and a couple of tough guys, the United Way of Huntington County kicked off its community-wide campaign on Friday, Sept. 21.
The organization has a head start on reaching the 2012-13 campaign goal of $735,000, which was unrolled during the kickoff luncheon by a cheer squad from Huntington North High School.
This year's Pacesetter companies - Beacon Credit Union, Bippus State Bank, Gerdau Macsteel, Huntington Sheet Metal, Miami Tool and Die, Pathfinder Services and Teachers Credit Union - raised a combined total of $68,874 even before the official launch of the community-wide fund drive, campaign chair Mike Pogorelc announced during the luncheon.
Pogorelc ran the proceedings in character as tough guy "Rocky," with Bendix co-worker Dave Scribner serving as his sparring partner, "Arno."
This year's campaign goal was cut back from the previous campaign's goal of $750,000 in an effort to reflect reality. The 2011-12 campaign fell short of its goal, bringing in $738,372.
The money raised through the campaign will fund programs in four areas targeted by the United Way - education, financial stability, health and wellness and crisis needs.
Agencies that will receive funds to provide those programs are Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bys & Girls Club, Huntington County Literacy Coalition, Pathfinder Services Kids Kampus, Pathfinder Services Transitional Housing, Pathfinder Services VITA, Salvation Army Huntington County, Youth Services Bureau, Boy Scouts Anthony Wayne Council, Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michigan, Huntington County Council on Aging, YWCA of northeast Indiana, American Red Cross of Huntington County, Cancer Services for Huntington County, Huntington County Free Health Clinic, Huntington House, Love in the Name of Christ and McKenzie's Hope.
No specific ending date is set for the community campaign. It will continue until late winter or early spring.