As we enter a new season and prepare for the Thanksgiving holidays, we continue to recover and rebuild from the last year and a half. We have all faced many uncertainties. For many in our community who already faced challenges meeting basic needs for themselves and their families, the stress and anxiety produced by the pandemic have seemed insurmountable at times.
One thing I am grateful for is the ability to live in a strong and resilient community. I am so thankful to everyone who has taken the opportunity to give, advocate and volunteer to ensure that our United Way is there to assist our neighbors, coworkers and friends who need a hand up. United Way isn’t about short-term charity. It is about lasting change. The success of United Way is not possible without the almost 3,000 volunteers who ensure that the most critical needs are met in the most efficient and effective ways. This is just one of the many reasons I am honored and proud to lead the United Way of Northwest Georgia.
Our 2021 campaign has been nothing short of amazing given the continued challenges, and I would like to recognize some key players. Thank you to our 2021 campaign co-chairs, Isabel Pimentel and Mike Sanderson, both of Engineered Floors. They assembled an amazing and caring group of Campaign Cabinet members including: Zack Adamson, Amy Anderson, Mike Andersen, Mitchell Boggs, Amy Cole, Piet Dossche, Matt Eicholtz, Bob Hardaway, Zac Long, Chuck McClurg, Marianne Murry, David Pennington IV, Bart Rich, Pete Sigmon, Karen Townsend, Terry Wilson, Kevin Wright, Joe Young and Will Young.
The dedication and drive of our donors, advocates and volunteers allows us to continue to address and stand up for the most immediate needs and the most vulnerable within our community. Because of your generous donations, we are able to help people meet their basic needs and build a better future for those who need the services of United Way and our community partners now and throughout the year.
Ricky never thought he would be a recipient of United Way services. When he was in a life-altering car accident, everything changed. After the car accident placed their lives on hold, Ricky and his family had to leave their home to find a place suitable to accommodate his wheelchair. Their new home had a pressboard ramp for wheelchair access in and out of the home. The pressboard ramp was very unsafe and difficult to get Ricky up and down without fear of falling or flipping backward.
Thanks to United Way and community partner Habitat for Humanity, Ricky was able to get a new, safer wheelchair ramp. The addition of the ramp has helped Ricky’s health improve by allowing him to be able to go outside safely and spend quality time outdoors with his whole family. Ricky stated that he has been given a brand new life. Ricky said it was difficult to ask for help, but he is thankful for the help that United Way and Habitat for Humanity gave in his time of need. United Way provides families, like Ricky’s, with necessary home repairs to live full and active lives.
No one ever thinks they will be on the other end of the story receiving services to meet their basic needs, but life presents us with unexpected challenges. When this happens, United Way will still be here serving where you need us most. As you reflect on what you are thankful for this season, please consider paying it forward with a gift to United Way. Sometimes a neighbor, like Ricky, could use an extra hand up this holiday season.
If you are interested in taking the next step and would like to donate to our 2021 campaign, visit ourunitedway.org/give. We have one life to live, and to live better we must Live United. That’s the power of community!
Amanda Burt is president of the United Way of Northwest Georgia.