United Way Executive Director David English recognized Wal-Mart, Teacher's Credit Union and Old National Bank as Pacesetters for the campaign.
All three conducted early employee campaigns. Between its Greencastle store, distribution and transportation facility, Wal-Mart has already donated $44,000 (counting a dollar-for-dollar match to employee contributions by the company). TCU has kicked in just over $3,000, while Old National has donated over $1,400 so far.
"We're off to a good start," English said. "We've got some work to do, but we've always got work to do."
English lauded the efforts of Hannah Ames, who served over the summer as an intern for the United Way of Putnam County. Ames has already returned to her studies at Purdue, where she is a senior, but came back to attend and assist with Friday's event.
"None of this couldn't have happened without her," English said.
Keynote speaker for the event was Bob Hammel, who worked for more than 30 years as the sports editor of the Bloomington Herald-Times and is the author of more than 11 books.
"Of all the organizations I've been involved in, this is the one that has really taught me a lot," he said. "When I think about what United Way does, I think, 'There before the grace of God go I.' I could have very easily lost a job, been faced with a devastating illness or gone through a divorce and needed the help of the United Way agencies."
Hammel said in his estimation, the basic tenet of United Way was very simple.
"It's showing compassion for those who are in need," he said. "All of you are sharing in this opportunity to show that compassion and put it to work."
Hammel showed the crowd a small statuette he had received for participating in a United Way in 1960.
"I am a collector of lots of things, but the reason I've kept this around is because it meant something," he said.
The breakfast was followed by the United Way's annual Day of Caring. Groups of volunteers were sent all over the county to complete community service projects.