United Way Pacesetters urged to lead campaign charge from ‘Zero’ to ‘Hero’

Team Stanley, serving as the campaign chairs of the 2018 Huntington County United Way Campaign, hold up cards spelling what they hope the 14 United Way Pacesetter companies will become as they begin their fund-raising efforts, ahead of the official start of the campaign in September. Pictured are (from left) Brent Stanley, Megan Reckelhoff, Nick Stanley and Darlene Stanley. The skit was performed at the annual Pacesetter Luncheon on Wednesday, July 18, at the Historic Forks of the Wabash.
Team Stanley, serving as the campaign chairs of the 2018 Huntington County United Way Campaign, hold up cards spelling what they hope the 14 United Way Pacesetter companies will become as they begin their fund-raising efforts, ahead of the official start of the campaign in September. Pictured are (from left) Brent Stanley, Megan Reckelhoff, Nick Stanley and Darlene Stanley. The skit was performed at the annual Pacesetter Luncheon on Wednesday, July 18, at the Historic Forks of the Wabash. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

From “Zero” to “Hero,” the 14 Huntington County United Way Pacesetter companies who will lead the charge in the 2018 fund-raising campaign were exhorted to go above and beyond, by just 5 percent more this year.

The 14 companies, announced Wednesday, July 18, at a luncheon held at the Historic Forks of the Wabash, are Andrews Elementary School, Bippus State Bank, Crestview Middle School, Ecolab, First Federal Savings Bank, Flint Springs Elementary School, JJ’s, Lake City Bank, The Bowen Center, Our Sunday Visitor, Parkview Huntington Hospital, PNC Bank, Roanoke Elementary School and Teacher’s Credit Union.

Pacesetter companies provide a kickstart to the annual campaign, which doesn’t officially begin until September. Many of them come up with fun, innovative ways to raise funds; in years past Pacesetter businesses and schools have held root beer float sales, Friday blue jeans days, penny wars and bake sales among events aimed at raising money for United Way.

Brent Stanley, representing JJ’s and one of the “Team Stanley” family campaign chairs this year, issued the challenge to the 14 pacesetters to work on nudging the amount of participation by 5 percent.

“If you increase the participation, most often you increase the pledge amount,” he said. “We think it is very attainable.”

Stanley said last year more than $171,000 was raised by Pacesetter companies alone, with nearly $53,000 raised by corporate giving; $102,000 in employee giving; $2,500 from the Spring Triathlon sponsorship; and over $13,000 from special events. This year, the Pacesetter goal is to raise $180,000, he said.

Co-chair Nick Stanley said this year’s campaign theme is “Live United – Be Someone’s Hero.” The theme is based on Kevin Brown’s book, “The HERO Effect,” he said.

The Stanley family put on a skit for the nearly 100 people at the luncheon, likening the four qualities of a hero from Brown’s book into becoming a “HERO” for United Way, by (H) helping the Huntington County United Way; (E) helping create extraordinary experiences by turning the ordinary into extraordinary; (R) taking responsibility for the results; and (O) being optimistic that the 2018 Pacesetter Campaign will be outstanding.

Attendees also heard from Elizabeth Hire, the interim administrator of Kids Kampus preschool and childcare, a recipient of United Way funds. Hire herself is a graduate of Kids Kampus and said as a youngster, the teachers at Kids Kampus were her heroes.

Hire introduced Collin Lusch, 8, a third-grader who started at Kids Kampus when he was only eight weeks old.
“What did you learn in preschool that will help you later on or will help you in school?” she asked him.

“Math, English and sharing,” he replied.

“And who was your hero?” Hire asked.

“Sheila,” Collin answered. “She inspired me to work hard.”

“Sheila Crawford was also my preschool teacher, and she became my hero,” Hire said, adding that she helped inspire her to work at Kids Kampus when she returned as a volunteer and later joined the staff.

“Those teachers and staff that I got to work alongside while I volunteered became my heroes. Their knowledge and their love for all the children regardless of their abilities became my inspiration as a teacher.”

At the conclusion of the luncheon, Team Stanley sweetened the deal by distributing Zero candy bars from JJ’s to everyone in attendance, with a new label going from “Zero” to “Hero.”

“We challenge you to do what you can to become a hero to our community,” added Campaign Co-chair Darlene Stanley.

Upcoming fund-raising opportunities include the 11th annual Sprint Triathlon, which takes place Aug. 11. Parkview Huntington Hospital is the main sponsor of the bike, run and swim competition. Parkview Huntington Family YMCA is the platinum sponsor and Gerdau is the gold sponsor.

The United Way’s official 2018 campaign kickoff is set for Sept. 26.