THE UNITED Way of Adams County already has exceeded its $1.05 million annual campaign goal, thanks to a heartening outpouring of community support.
Through the leadership of campaign Chairman Hal Oakley and Vice Chairman Mark Tyrpin, the tireless efforts of countless volunteers and the generosity of the community as a whole, this year's campaign has been a remarkable success.
Vital programs have been funded through successful United Way campaigns for decades. The benefits to this community are tremendous.
Ben Van Ness, who recently became a United Way board member, believes people who have always lived in Quincy may not fully appreciate the remarkable local spirit of giving.
Van Ness was involved in United Way when he lived and worked in South Bend, Ind., and Rochester, Minn.
"Both of those communities are bigger than the greater Quincy area. Neither of those communities have the outpouring of support that happens in our marketplace. The dollars show it, the overall reach shows it and the relationship with all of the partner agencies shows it," Van Ness told The Herald-Whig.
The United Way's fundraising campaign supports 20 agencies and 31 programs. Campaign leaders said more than 34,000 people, about half of the county's population, were touched by those countywide initiatives in the past year.
Numbers tell only part of the story. As Van Ness points out, it is hard to imagine the United Way's full scope.
If the United Way had never existed, this would be a very different and a greatly diminished community.
Frank Capra's classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" imagines the difference one man -- George Bailey as portrayed by James Stewart -- can make in a community. The movie illustrates the void left if Bailey had never lived.
Following that same thought process, if the United Way of Adams County had never existed there would have been a void in community support dating back to 1937. More than $40 million that has supported local groups would not have been available. Hundreds of thousands of people whose lives were made better might not have gotten help.
Thankfully, the United Way of Adams County has been around for 82 years. And it's been a wonderful vehicle for changing lives.
The success of this year's campaign will help ensure that legacy continues.
We look forward to the revealing of the final total on Feb. 27 at the group's annual meeting, and extend our thanks to all who helped make this year's campaign a success.