United Way raises over $7,000 at Valentine Dinner

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Bethel Renaissance
PICKIN – One of the members of Bethel Renaissance’s Bluegrass group gets ready to entertain at United Way’s Valentine Dinner.

Over $7,000 was raised from Carroll United Way Valentine’s Dinner Feb. 15 that attracted over 200 guests to the Carroll County Civic Center.

The dinner proceeds will benefit United Way’s work in Carroll and Henry Counties.

The mission statement of the organization says: “United Way of West Tennessee believes that every person in our community deserves to live a healthy life, receive a quality education, and be financially stable. We believe that fighting complex, systemic problems requires the collaboration of non-profits, businesses, volunteers, and government officials. We have one life. To live better, we must Live United.”

Funds are given to different local agencies which invest in strategic programs that change lives.

Several people from different agencies spoke about certain instances where people were helped in some manner that impacted their lives for the better.

They included Tee Jay Glidwell from the Carroll County Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Bill Rogers from the TN Rehab Center of Camden, McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland from McKenzie-Carroll County United Neighbors, Susan Sloan from the Office on Aging for Carroll County and Jean Chandler and others from WRAP.

Bethel University Renaissance Bluegrass group was the featured entertainment group of the night. The Bethel University’s soccer team assisted with the serving.

“We are gathered here with people we love and out of love for our fellow countians,” said County Mayor Joseph Butler, who is a board member.

It was noted that board members LaRenda Scarbrough and Paula Atkins, as well as Linda Reeves and Pam Williams spent hours organizing and decorating for the event.

Other Carroll County board members include Bonnie Autry, Braden Maddox, Brock and Krista Martin, Cristy Gooch, McKenzie Mayor Jill Holland, Melody Heyduck, Nathan Smothers, and Tom Aljancic.

The guests dined on grilled chicken breasts donated by Tyson Foods, cheesy potatoes, green beans, rolls and chocolate and strawberry cake.

Baptist Memorial Hospital Carroll Bank & Trust, Carroll County News Leader, Casey Drewry Real Estate, Centennial Bank, Christian Care Center of McKenzie, City of McKenzie, Espey Gin Co., FirstBank, Huntingdon Insurance, Huntingdon Health & Rehab, Lakeside Senior Living, McKenzie Banking Co., Priority Ambulance, Stafford Real Estate, Southern Chiropractic, Town of Huntingdon, West TN Utility District and WRAP.

Guest speaker Paula Atkins who has been a supporter of United Way for many years, shared some of the reasons she believes in the organization.

“First, the money raised in Carroll County stays here to help our neighbors in need,” she said.

Secondly, businesses and industries allow United Way to come in and hold campaigns explaining how United Way works.

“Employees are given the opportunity to donate the amount they choose deducted from their payroll checks,” she said. “That’s a brilliant simple way to contribute. Most people want to help others, but don’t have the opportunity. Individuals, also, can donate as you have tonight.”

Thirdly, one of the most unique features of United Way is their Community Impact Board, Atkins said.

“Local volunteers visit each agency requesting funding to determine if money will be used wisely in meeting United Way’s criteria,” she said.

Krista Paul, Resource Director of United Way of West Tennessee, thanked those attending and for their support of United Way.

“United Way will always be around to lend a helping hand to assist in making someone’s future brighter,” she said.

Scott Conger, President and CEO of United Way of West Tennessee, closed the event with remarks.

“United Way gives people who are at wit’s end a helping hand. We will make a difference in Carroll County.”

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