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United Way recently entertained over 600 guests at the 2012 Campaign Kickoff. Hosted at Bell Auditorium, Paige Tucker and Brendan Robertson of WAGT NBC 26 presided over the event.

This year’s themed event was revealed as Mission Possible with the community being recruited as “special agents” for the UWCSRA (United Way Certified Spy Recruitment Agency). As special agents, the community was assigned the task of working to fight against such barriers as illiteracy, homelessness, unemployment, and hunger to name a few. With people dressed in spy gear and the stage set for the unknown, it appeared that a covert operation was in the making.

Stan Shepherd, United Way’s 2012 Board Chair, presented United Way Worldwide’s “Spirit of America Award”, which is United Way’s highest national honor recognizing corporations and their employees for exceptional philanthropic commitment and community involvement. The coveted award was presented to Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Company. He also presented United Way Worldwide’s “Summit Awards” to Publix Super Markets for Philanthropic Engagement and Community Impact, Bank of America for Volunteer Engagement and Community Impact, and Wells Fargo for Volunteer Engagement.

Mike Hogan, United Way’s 2012 Campaign Chair, announced United Way’s 2012 campaign mission of raising $4.15 million. He challenged everyone to consider giving back and to “go forth and work throughout the coming months to make this mission a reality”. He also stated, “As we believe that nothing is impossible, you will find that this is indeed a mission possible”.

Mr. Hogan also announced that Bob Richards of Bob Richards Auto Group has donated a 2013 Nissan Versa Hatchback for this year’s campaign. When you donate a minimum of $260 per year (just $5 per week), you become eligible for a ticket to win the car. And, the more you donate, the more chances you have to win! The winner will be announced in a drawing at the 2013 annual meeting next February. More information will be available soon at <> .

Each year, United Way is fortunate to have assistance from a number of local companies who loan key employees that will work with United Way for the next 12 weeks helping to run campaigns throughout the community. This year’s Loaned Professionals include: Tracy Birmingham, Publix Super Markets; Richard Hillman, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Larry Laughlin, Retired; Shannon Newton, Elliott Davis, LLC; Jean Stump, U.S. Department of Energy; and Sharn Vericella, AmeriCorps Volunteer In Service to America.

Seventeen companies were recognized for running Pacesetter Campaigns this year, campaigns which are launched prior to the Kickoff: Augusta Service Company; Austin Industrial; Boy Scouts of America, Georgia-Carolina Council; Columbia County Community Connections; Columbia County Government; Macy’s; Palmetto GBA; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta; SafeHomes; The Salvation Army; Sam’s Club; Savannah River Remediation; Senior Citizens Council of Greater Augusta and the CSRA; Target; United Way Board of Directors; United Way Staff; and Walmart Stores.

The Kickoff was presented through the generosity of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Comcast, Georgia Power, Kendrick Paint and Body, Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company, and University Health Care System.

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