In game show format, the final total of the 2007 Cooke County United Way fund raising campaign was revealed.

Jack Thies, campaign chair, had several United Way board members come on stage at the Gainesville Civic Center toward the end of the celebration luncheon Friday, holding numbers, a dollar sign, a couple of commas and a decimal point. Asking for “audience participation,” those seated shouted out where the numbers should be placed.

When all the confusion cleared, the final total — $396,180.54 — was officially presented, meeting applause from supporters.

Following the presentation, The Six Shooter Band played a rendition of Buck Owens’ 1964 hit, “Together Again,” but with special lyrics written especially for the luncheon. The new version, sung by Sue Shauf of Gainesville, was “Together We Can,” one of the slogans of the United Way.

Band members included Jonothan Simons, Kenny Smith, Robert Casey and Brian Sutton.

Many awards were presented at the luncheon, including the trademark Pacesetters Award, for businesses that are the first to give during a campaign.

They included Alan Ritchey, Inc., City of Gainesville, First State Bank, Gainesville ISD, GNB Financial n.a., Nortex Communications, North Central Texas College and Wal-Mart Supercenter.

“The Pacesetters are just like a pit crew at a race track — they really get you going,” Thies said, in keeping with the NASCAR theme of the luncheon.

The Arley Daurity Award, for 100 percent employee participation, went to Advanced Pedestal, Ltd., W.E. Chalmers Elementary School, Edison Elementary School and Head Start Academy, First State Bank, GNB Financial, Gainesville Junior High School and Robert E. Lee Intermediate School.

The Presidential Award went to Advanced Pedestal, Ltd., Chancellor Manufacturing, Cooke County Courthouse, First State Bank, HEP Oil Co., Jet-Star Energy Services, Norman’s Well Service, Texas Youth Commission — Gainesville State School and Valley View ISD.

The Community Excellence Award, for $100 per capita and 80 percent employee participation, was presented to Cooke County Electric Co-op, GNB Financial, First State Bank and Petroflex.

The Gold Award, for $60 per capita and 60 percent participation, went to Callisburg ISD.

The Silver Award, for $50 per capita and 50 percent employee participation, went to North Central Texas College.

Small Business Awards, for companies less than 25 employees, went to American Bank of Texas, American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club, Cooke County Friends of the Family, Dustin Office Machines, Gainesville ISD Alternative Education Program, Cross Timbers Council of the Girls Scouts of America, Home Hospice of Cooke County, Jim Goldsworthy/State Farm Insurance, Kelly Sand and Excavation, Muenster State Bank, Substance Abuse Council, Wilhite Land Surveying, Inc. and Wright and Wright Insurance.

“It’s amazing how many United Way agencies fall into this category,” Thies said, serving as emcee. “It’s really something.”

Community Partner designations were given to Callisburg ISD, Lindsay ISD, PolyPipe, Inc., Tom Thumb Foods and Pharmacy, Valley View ISD and Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The Chairman’s Award, for one-third of its employees giving $100 or more, went to Alan Ritchey, Inc., and North Texas Medical Center.

The Community Impact Award went to Weber Aircraft for its support of United Way events.

Following the presentations, Kathy Bauer of the United Way board auctioned off four carboard cut out statues of Dale Earnhardt Jr. for $100 each.

Benefitted organizations of the local United Way include American Red Cross, Area Agency on Aging, Boy Scouts of America Longhorn Council, Boys and Girls Club of Cooke County, Boys Baseball of Cooke County, CASA of North Texas, Cooke County Child Welfare Board, Cooke County Friends of the Family, Cooke County VIP Special Olympics, Cooke County Youth Fair, Girl Scouts Cross Timbers Council, Home Hospice of Cooke County, Muenster Youth Council, Reading and Radio Resource of North Texas, Substance Abuse Council, Southwestern Diabetic Foundation Camp Sweeney, Tri-County Senior Nutrition/Meals on Wheels and VISTO.

In order to be considered for assistance by the United Way, a press release said, each of the agencies it assists must meet these standards: Be recognized by the IRS as a non-profit organization, be governed by a volunteer board of directors, be audited annually by a CPA firm, be annually present and defend their entire budget to a panel of community volunteers, and operate at a reasonable cost.

The board of directors includes: Bauer, Thies, Krissa Coker, Tim Turbeville, Jim Goldsworthy, John Bartush, Kathy Boone, Gayla Blanton, Jim Colbert, Derrell Comer, Gina Craigie, Charles Draper, T.J. Eddleman, Ray Fletcher, Carolyn Hendricks, Mike Land, Johnny Leftwich, Dorthy Lewis, Don Metzler, Galene Morris, Shane Riley, Christine Weinzapfel, Frank Winnert and this reporter.

According to its mission statement, the United Way aims to improve people’s lives by mobilizing “the caring power of communities.” The United Way system includes about 1,400 community-based United Way organizations nationwide. Each is independent, separately incorporated and governed by local volunteers.

“As community leaders, the local United Way addresses the most critical local issues and mobilizes resources beyond the dollars that are pledged through their fund-raising efforts,” a press release said.

Coker, of GNB Financial, was announced as the 2008 campaign chair. She and Thies thanked Tom Thumb Food and Pharmacy for its catering of a fried chicken dinner to attendees. They also noted Cooper’s Copies and Printing for providing copies of the program and other documents, and Terrific Trophies.

United Way always accepts donations — not just for its annual charitable campaign but also for emergency services. To donate call 665-1793 or e-mail cookeuw@ntin.net.

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at

andyhoguegdr@ntin.net

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