Heartfelt kickoff jumpstarts annual United Way campaign Monday evening

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Belting out a rendition of “You’ve Gotta Have Heart” as the closing number for the United Way kickoff event Monday night, United Way Executive Director Joe Buser is joined on stage by a back-up crew of local singing talent (from left) Josh Bain, Andrew Ranck, Mike Balka and Joel Everson as their number brings down the house at Wasser Brewing Co.
Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE

More than 100 guests packed into Wasser Brewing Co. in Greencastle Monday night to learn how the United Way of Putnam County and its partners put their hearts in it to work together for community change.

Joe Buser
Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE

“Community change is interconnected and complex,” United Way Executive Director Joe Buser stressed, ”and we’re here tonight to ask you to join us in fitting the pieces of the puzzle together. With every dollar you donate, every hour you volunteer, everything you give to the United Way, you are saving lives.

“When you give to the United Way, your gift doubles,” Buser continued. ”This is made possible because of our united effort. United Way dollars enable our partners to leverage state and local matching grants, along with volunteer time, and in-kind donations.

“Everyone in this room is an important piece of this community change. In fact, you are the last piece of the puzzle. Just a dollar a day – or $365 a year -- can truly change someone’s life. Thank you for being here tonight and for living ‘United’ – because change doesn’t happen by itself. “

After some time enjoying the Wasser food and libations, Greencastle Mayor Bill Dory made a formal proclamation, declaring the weekend of Nov. 10-11 as Putnam County Weekend of Thanksgiving.

“As part of our ‘Communiversity’ effort,” Dory went on to say, “DePauw student body President Erika Killion and her team will be fundraising this coming week and will wrap up efforts during the tailgating session prior to the Monon Bell game on Saturday. They have extended a challenge to their counterparts in the Wabash community. We have had a traveling mini Monon Bell trophy made that can be awarded each year to the most successful group of students in their fundraising efforts.”

“Hopefully this will become a tradition that can be carried on for years to come and will further engage the DePauw community in the support of the human service agencies providing resources for all Putnam County residents,” Buser continued. “To assist our DePauw students with the Monon challenge, we hope to rally the spirit of the community with our weekend of Thanksgiving.”

Several banks in Putnam County have agreed to accept contributions over the weekend, and students will be collecting at Walmart in Greencastle on Friday.

-- First National Bank, Greencastle and Cloverdale – Friday and Saturday.

-- Tri-County Bank, Roachdale, Bainbridge and Russellville – Friday.

-- North Salem State Bank, Greencastle – Friday.

-- Old National Bank, Greencastle – Friday.

-- Teachers Credit Union, Greencastle – Saturday.

-- First Financial Bank, Greencastle, Friday.

-- Walmart, Friday.

“On behalf of the board of directors of the United Way of Putnam County, I wish to extend an invitation to the community to help support our human service agencies,” Buser said. “These staff members and volunteers work diligently to provide information and services to those in need throughout all of Putnam County. For those of you who have or will contribute, we sincerely thank you. Without your support, much of this tireless and vital work could not be completed. Together, we can live ‘United.’”

United Way of Putnam County agencies are: Beyond Homeless, Mental Health of Putnam County, Senior Citizen Center, Imagination Library, Summer Enrichment Program, Transformers, Family Support Services, Youth Service Bureau, Red Cross, Johnson Nichols Health Clinic, Lakeland Center and YMCA. Affiliate Agencies are Putnam County Comprehensive Services and the Reading Improvement Center, while Castle Arts is an Associate Agency.

Buser concluded the evening’s presentation with an exuberant rendition of “You’ve Gotta Have Heart” as backup singers Josh Bain, Mike Balka, Joel Everson and Andrew Ranck also added Pips-like precision to the act.

With United Way Executive Director Joe Buser looking on from the stage, Greencastle Mayor Bill Dory signs a proclamation designating Nov. 10-11 as Putnam County Weekend of Thanksgiving and the months of November through April as United Way of Putnam County Months during the United Way kickoff event Monday night at Wasser Brewing Co.
Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE
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