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United Way: Tough economy won't deter $2 million fundraising goal
Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli talks with United Way of Hall County President Jackie Wallace during the campaign launch at the Georgia Mountains Center Tuesday. Mughelli was keynote speaker. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli spoke about the benefits of working together as a community to motivate people at the United Way of Hall County’s annual campaign kickoff lunch Tuesday.

The United Way is aiming to raise more than $2 million during its 2008 campaign, and campaign Chairman Darrell Snyder encouraged the audience to "continue to inspire each other to do the great work you’ve already begun."

Mughelli told the crowd his parents instilled in him a drive for community service at a young age. He said when he was tired and didn’t want to go with his family to a service project, his mother would remind him how important one person can be.

"You not being there makes a difference," Mughelli said his mother told him. "If everyone thought that way, nothing would ever get accomplished," Mughelli said, reminding people that their individual contributions to the United Way this year will add up and make a difference.

Jackie Wallace, United Way of Hall County president, said she thought the event was a great start to the annual campaign.

"We need the support of all the community," Wallace said. "It’s not just about the large gifts."

Living united was a recurring message throughout the luncheon, urging community cohesiveness to help others.

"By working together and living united, there’s no doubt we can accomplish great things," Snyder said.

Mughelli said throughout his life he has found that by working together, everyone can benefit.

"Living united is a way of life for me," Mughelli said.

Mughelli said the Falcons won their opening game Sunday because they were united, and banded together to reverse their losing record.

"We made a conscious decision on Sunday we weren’t going to lose," Mughelli said. "You cannot win, you cannot succeed in football, in life, in anything, unless you forget about yourself, your goals and it’s about the team goals. ... That’s the same type of attitude we have to have in the community."

Snyder said that this year’s campaign was especially important because so many are struggling through tough economic times.

"Even with a difficult economy, I’m confident through the leadership of everyone here we’ll be able to meet and exceed our goal. I think as everyone knows in difficult times like this, our partner agencies actually have more people coming to them than they ever have before. And because of that, they need more resources than they’ve ever needed before," Snyder said.