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United Way honors volunteers, celebrates $1.5 million raised
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United Way of Hall County President Joy Griffin speaks Thursday, May 10, 2018, at the Gainesville Civic Center during the United Way of Hall County volunteer recognition and annual celebration. - photo by Scott Rogers

The United Way of Hall County, which raised more than $1.5 million in its most recent annual campaign, honored its volunteers and partners at its annual end-of-year celebration Thursday, May 10, at the Gainesville Civic Center.

The organization funds more than 30 nonprofits that promote health, education and financial stability with the goal of alleviating poverty and increasing standards of living. Joy Griffin, the group’s president and chief professional officer, reflected on the organization’s work over the past year.

Griffin thanked United Way’s funded programs, which address issues including domestic violence, food insecurity and child abuse, for their efforts to help people in Hall County.

“Because of each of you, this community experiences triumph over tragedy,” Griffin said. “A child breaks through, a victim finds healing, someone at the end of their rope finds a helping hand. It is my honor to spend my days asking our community to support your work.”

Griffin said the United Way’s annual campaign haul was a goal reached largely through corporate campaigns and partnerships with businesses including Publix, Northeast Georgia Health System and Fieldale Farms. A half marathon and 5K in April drew almost 200 attendees and raised $27,000, according to Tommy Howard, the campaign chairman and president of Norton Brokerage Services.

The people behind United Way’s success were recognized Thursday with four of the organization’s top awards:

  • The Longstreet Clinic received the Chairman’s Award. The clinic sponsored United Way’s half marathon and 5K and has emphasized child literacy by giving books to children and teaching the community about reading and language development.

  • The Give Award went to Jim Walters, who Griffin said is a fixture in the community and has given $351,000 to United Way since 1989.

  • Doug Hanson received the Advocate Award for his commitment to service and his time spent volunteering in Hall County.

  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance volunteers received the Volunteer Award. The group spent eight Saturdays offering free tax preparation services.

This summer, United Way will work on establishing new goals to address health, education and financial stability and will present its ideas in September.

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