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United Way of the Central Savannah River Area entertained over 150 guests on August 13, 2014 at the Burke County United Way Campaign Kickoff luncheon held at the Augusta Technical College Waynesboro campus. The “Superhero” theme of this year’s kickoff was a hit as Campaign Chair Dr. Faye Hargrove encouraged the participants to unleash their internal super hero to help raise $310,500 for Burke County.

Burke County High School’s Band was on hand to entertain the guests with several superhero tunes. Members of the audience also previewed United Way’s 2014 Campaign Video, “You and United Way….Changing Lives”.

Lindsai Mobley-Gentry, the 2014 Burke County Campaign Cabinet Chair, thanked the Burke County Campaign Cabinet members for their hard work and presented them with awards. Receiving awards were: Beverly Black, Capital City Bank; DeAndre Davis; Valerie Kirkland, City of Waynesboro; John Nichols, Purification Cellutions; Amy Nunnally, Burke County Board of Education; Ashley Roberts, Burke County Chamber of Commerce; Suzanne Sharkey, Georgia Power; and Trinetta Skinner, City of Waynesboro.

Ashley Smith Robinson shared her story of being held hostage by alleged courtroom killer Brian Nichols. After watching the murder of her first husband, Ashley had eventually turned to drugs for comfort. After losing custody of her six year old daughter, she was working towards getting her life back on track when Brian Nichols took her hostage for seven hours in her apartment in Atlanta. She said she survived by turning to God and allowing Him to lead her. Today, Ashley is remarried and is the mother of three beautiful children. She is a public speaker and the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Unlikely Angel”, which inspired the movie “Captive”, coming to theaters in the spring of 2015.

Dr. Faye Hargrove of Hargrove Leadership Services and United Way’s 2014 Campaign Chair addressed the audience dressed as Wonder Woman. She presented an award to Burke County High School for being the school with the highest increase in giving. Mr. Sam Adkins, Principal, received the award for the school. An award was also presented to Mr. Willie Brown with the Burke County Board of Education who has supplied a bus for the Stuff the Bus school supply drive for the past six years. Dr. Hargrove encouraged guests to unleash their super hero by Giving, Advocating, and Volunteering to make an impact in the lives of local Burke County residents.

WJBF News Channel 6 News Anchor, Brad Means, presided over the event sponsored by Southern Nuclear Operating Company. Other sponsors included Capital City Bank, Augusta Technical College – Waynesboro Campus, and DJ Productions. The event entertained local community and business leaders, health and human service agencies, government officials, and representatives from many Burke County businesses.