The United Way of Orange County recently hosted its annual banquet at Robert’s Steakhouse, with entertainment by magician Vinnie Hale (son of Lacey Hale and grandson of Dale Gunn). New board members were installed by Jerry Pennington, including Jennifer Grizzaffi, president; Scott Hale, first vice president; Shane Johns, second vice president; and Joe Love Jr., treasurer.

The 2007 campaign goal for 2008 was $1 million. “We met our goal and were able to fully fund our agencies,” said Laura Floyd, immediate past president. “In addition, we were able to give four agencies grants totaling $30, 500 for emergency unbudgeted needs.

“The 2008 campaign goal for 2009 was $1,010,000. We kicked off our campaign in late August. Needless to say Hurricane Ike delayed our campaign considerably. We did not get our second kickoff underway until late November. At this time we have raised $845,000. Pledges continue to come in and several campaigns will kickoff this spring.”

One of the big accomplishments of 2008 was the production of a local United Way video. The organization thanked Debbie Castle, ITW Muller, Barbara Knight, Jerry Ehrman, Lacey Hale and the West-Orange Stark media technology eepartment.

“Campaign Chair Shane Johns and his Co-Chair Troy Blanchard are to be commended for organizing a successful campaign under most trying circumstances,” Floyd said. “If Hurricane Ike were not enough, the economic downturn added additional challenge. We appreciate the many volunteers, campaign committees, and individual businesses for giving your time, dedication and financial commitment that made this campaign a great success. This says that you believe in the United Way and what we do for our community.
“The Board of Directors appreciated the opportunity to serve the citizens of Orange County. A special thanks to our staff Linn Cardner and Georgia Taylor, for the professional manner and efficient way they run the day-to-day activities of the office. Finally, I want to thank the entire board of directors for their support and giving me the opportunity to serve the United Way as president of the board for the year 2008.”