United Way reaches $30,000 goal at telethon

The United Way Live United Telethon reached its $30,000 goal Saturday following a day of fun, interviews, performers, auction items and community support. The final donation of $907 just after 9 p.m. pushed the group over the top.

“It was a great day today that started off real quick,” said United Way Board Member Gary Clay. “Things slowed down some when the sun came out, but donations picked back up around 5 p.m.”

Clay said he was grateful for the help of Beverly Elementary School principal Paul Zickefoose.

“Paul was here to let everyone in this morning and will be here tonight to lock up after cleanup,” Clay said. “We appreciate his help. He also raised more than $1,300 during the day while he was locked up in our telethon jail.”

Clay said the day began as it has for years.

“Elkins resident John Zirbs is always the first person to call us with his donation every year,” Clay said. “And he issues a challenge to all other paper carriers to match his donation.”

Throughout the day, many people helped make the telethon a success.

“This is truly a community effort,” Clay said. “Folks donate time to the telethon, they make donations and they purchase our auction items. Others serve as sponsors, or donate prizes, food and props. Some perform or talk about the groups we support and others answer phones and do other jobs. The true spirit of the United Way shines through when we have our telethon.”

Emcees Kenny Sexton and Bill and Beverly Johnson said the total collections when they arrived at 5 p.m. were at $13,000.

“The last four hours went quickly and donations grew until we hit the goal,” Beverly Johnson said. “This is always lots of fun.”

Randolph County Development Authority Director Robbie Morris received a text just after 9 p.m. notifying him of the final donation – $907 from Woodford Oil, pushing the total pledges to $30,000, the goal for 2013. Funds from the telethon will be used to help support 27 local partnering agencies with their budget needs.

United Way telethon chairperson Kathy Leombruno said she was thrilled with the day’s events.

“Oh, what a night,” Leombruno said.