The United Way of Lawton-Fort Sill kicked off its annual Day of Caring Friday with a breakfast and presentation honoring long-time volunteer and recently deceased David Hegwood.
The Worley Center of the Great Plains Technology Center looked more like the set of "Survivor" thanks to the decorating skills of United Way volunteers who worked late Thursday night to ensure it was ready. After volunteers and agency representatives received their breakfast, John Noel, campaign chair, took the podium to welcome everyone to the annual event. He led off by congratulating the agencies on their hard work, making special note of their T-shirts with the phrase "accept the challenge" printed on them.
"Each agency accepts the challenge on a daily basis," Noel said. "It takes a lot of work and they're doing a great job of it. Without your assistance, these projects wouldn't get done."
The chair announced a fundraising goal of $1.825 million, which will be raised over the next 18 weeks. United Way pacesetters have already raised $522,907 29 percent of the goal. While the money is nice, Day of Caring chair Lisa Johnson said the true challenge and goal of the United Way is to help the area.
"Our challenge is to impact as many lives as we can in our own community," she said. "Achieving our total goal will help those agencies to change the lives of the people that come to them."
Johnson followed Noel to the podium, announcing the total raised thus far. She told the volunteers that their service is a benefit to both the community and to themselves. Where else, she asked them, could they get out of the office and go work for a good cause in the community?
"This is so much more than money," she said. "This is really, really the biggest part of the United Way."