Suffolk kicks off campaign

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

About 15 minutes into this year’s Suffolk United Way Campaign, Chair-elect Kenda Council announced that 23 percent of the $621,174 goal had already been achieved.

That was thanks to the campaign’s pacesetter companies that each year help jump-start the annual effort by starting early.


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With the enthusiasm and fanfare to rival the National Football League’s season launch scheduled for later in the day, Suffolkians turned out Thursday morning to kick off the 2003 campaign with a bang. The Nansemond River High School Warrior Marching Band got the crowd of about 200 at the Train Station fired up before they headed out to donate their time and labors to benefit United Way agencies on the annual Day of Caring.

&uot;There are over 2,000 volunteers across South Hampton Roads – 200 in Suffolk compared to just 40 last year, so we consider this a tremendous success,&uot; said Campaign Chairman John G. Sebrell of First Virginia Bank.

Immediately after the opening ceremonies, Sebrell, a member of Mayor E. Dana Dickens’ All Star volunteer team, was putting a coat of primer on the new addition to the Children’s Center on Wilroy Road.

Volunteers also donated their time at Edmarc House, cleaning and handyman projects; Elephants Fork Elementary, replacing sand in playground, painting and cleaning; Install a wheelchair ramp at a residence on Pitchkettle Road; Hampton Roads Youth Center; King’s Fork Middle School, mulching flower beds and planting flowers; Nansemond Parkway Elementary, painting the playground; Oakland Elementary, mulching flower beds and planting flowers; Places & Programs for Children; Robertson Elementary School, building bookshelves in classrooms; Salvation Army, painting, cleaning and working in the soup kitchen; Sleepy Hole Park, repairing shelters, painting and landscaping; Turlington Woods School, installing a pond; and the YMCA, winterizing outdoor pool, helping in childcare and landscaping.

Rick Knapp, United Way Regional Campaign Chairman, extolled the volunteers to talk to representatives from the agencies they served yesterday to learn about the challenges they face and how much the United Way means to them and their clients so that they can become better spokesmen for the campaign.

The best sales pitch for the United Way, however, was given by Wendy Short, whose 14-year-old daughter, Madison, who was also in attendance, is a client of Edmarc House in Suffolk, a hospice for children.

Short told of how much help Edmarc has been for her family, making it possible for Madison to do things she likely wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.

Last year’s campaign raised $561,053 for health and human service programs in Suffolk.

Among the agencies that benefit are American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Hampton Roads, Boy Scouts, The Children’s Center, Edmarc Hospice, Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, the Genieve Shelter, Girl Scout Council, Salvation Army, Sickle Cell Association, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless, and the YMCA.

Members of the United Way Campaign Cabinet in Suffolk are: Sebrell, chairman; Council, Chair-Elect 2004; Win Winslow, Chair-Elect 2005; Bethanne D. Bradshaw, Suffolk Public Schools, Kay Davenport, City of Suffolk; Martha McClees, City of Suffolk; Jennifer J. Ambrose, Farmers Bank; Diane Johnson, BB&T; Chris Pond, Griffin Oil and Propane; Kandy Lewis, Denison’s; Diane Eaves, BB&T; Jack Nurney, J. Walter Hosier & Sons; Dorothy M. Jenson, Edmarc Hospice for Children; Blake Baker, R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home; Eley Duke, Duke Automotive; Wendell Waller, Suffolk Public Schools; and Dr. Jeffrey Persons, Orthopedic Surgery Centers.