By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor

The United Way of Harrison County is approaching the conclusion of this year’s fundraising campaign, and as volunteers have done for the past 14 years, they went through their list of donors and started making calls around Valentine’s Day to those that listed a phone number. The purpose of the calls was simply to say “We appreciate your support!”.
According to Harrison County’s United Way executive director Marie Battles, they were 95% successful reaching their contributors, and when no one answered, they left a voice message if possible.
“Volunteers from our member agencies gathered on both Tuesday and Thursday of last week at Frontier Communication’s retail store in Clarksburg where they had set up for our use a bank of phones. We made evening calls, hoping to find more people at home at that time of day. Whether their donations had been modest or major, we simply wanted to express our sincere gratitude for their support,” Marie stated.
Those who have contributed in recent years are not surprised by the calls because they’ve received them before. However, Marie noted that first-time donors are often amazed and appreciative to get a ‘personal’ thank you!
“We rely on these contributors to meet our annual goal so that we can provide the help needed by our member agencies, and we feel very strongly that letting our donors know how much we appreciate their generosity should also be one of our priorities,” Marie added.
The campaign will end next Thursday, February 26th. The Harrison County United Way’s goal this past year was to reach $840,111 and they are at this point at 98%!
“We fully expect to meet our goal,” Battles continued. “We have one company in particular that did a significant fundraiser for us, and we are awaiting their final numbers. But we’re fairly certain that we’ll meet our intended goal.”
If you’re wondering where they came up with the odd number ($840,111), it coincided with their local theme of “One Team, One Mission, One Goal”.
Marie reported that not all United Way organizations are as successful at meeting their goals.
“Some of the larger United Ways in our state struggle a little more,” she said. “We are just extremely fortunate that we are such a close-knit community here in Harrison County and are very inter-connected.”
Explaining Harrison County’s success this year, Marie stated, “We did have lots of special events during this past year, which helped us tremendously – a bocce tournament, golf tournament, a cardboard boat race, and 17 local restaurants participated in our Dine Out events. Plus our gift wrapping station at the Meadowbrook Mall during the Christmas season raised more money this year – $9,000! And, our Hot Wings Eating Contest, a project that Antero Resources supported in a big way, raised $36,000! All of these many activities helped us tremendously.”
The public is invited to attend the year-end wrap-up of the 2015 campaign, which will be held at the Bridgeport Conference Center on Feb. 26th. The cost to attend is $25 and they would appreciate an RSVP by February 23rd to aid in the preparation. As soon as this campaign ends, next year’s planning will begin!
Battles concluded, “We made well over 2,000 personal ‘thank you’ calls during our Thank-A-Thon, but in case we missed you, I would just like to again say ‘thank you’ to all of our contributors … and to all of our volunteers as well, who help us pull this together each year. We have a very limited staff in our Courthouse office, and we could simply never do all of this without their vital help!”

Shown above making ‘thank you’ calls for the United Way of Harrison County are (from left) Diane Young (Legal Aid), Wanda Carrico (Bi-County Nutrition), Ben Propst (Boy Scouts), and this year’s Campaign Chair James Swiger of WYK Associates.
Shown above making ‘thank you’ calls for the United Way of Harrison County are (from left) Diane Young (Legal Aid), Wanda Carrico (Bi-County Nutrition), Ben Propst (Boy Scouts), and this year’s Campaign Chair James Swiger of WYK Associates.