Wednesday is the official kick-off of the annual Rockdale County United Way drive.
In the early 1970s I happened to be the Circulation Manager of the Daily Advance located in Elizabeth City, and in those days as a young executive trying to move through the ranks, it was imperative to volunteer in your community. I threw myself at the task with relish.
One of my first volunteer loves was volunteering for the United Way, and I pushed for the folks that worked for our company to give until we reached the 100 percent giving goal.
The local United Way offered a gold phone, tickets to dinner and a movie to the young executive who raised the most money. Believe me, I took home that gold phone. Though it didn't work, it was a source of personal pride proudly displayed in my office.
As the years passed, I continued to proudly promote and push the United Way program.
One of the great things I loved about the United Way charities was that - we were told in those days - 90 cents on the dollar raised was returned to the community.
In the mid 1980s, I started a United Way program in Sterling, Colo. interacting with its first director and my wife, Molly.
However, shortly after starting the Sterling United Way branch, a major scandal hit the charitable organization. It turned out that my belief of 90 percent of the money raised going back into the community was not what was happening.
I felt like a lover spurned, having been lied to, and since then I have not been involved with United Way.
Life certainly does change as we age and mellow, and during the past year members of the Rockdale Community have brought me back to the United Way.
I have met some fine folks who have a driving passion to see that the Rockdale United Way does what it promises to do to support the non-profits in our community. And United Way does try to give to every organization that they can support.
The driving force of attitude is Clair Cline, whose spunk, honesty and enthusiasm has led me to forgive and forget my prior hurts.
Of all the agencies in the country that collect money for the benefit of non-profits and specific community activities, United Way does return the most money raised back into the community.
To that end we have agreed here at the Rockdale News to be a major supporter of this worthwhile agency. We will run stories and updates weekly on the non-profits being supported by the money you give to United Way.
We will be running a weekly thermometer that will show the progress of the fund- raising going on. We will also run the name of businesses and major contributors along with the thermometer.
We are proud to be a part of the United Way team here in Rockdale county because we are proud to be associate with good folks like yourself who give even though it hurts so others can survive and continue to grow. After all, Conyers and Rockdale are city and a county that recognizes the giving of yourself is truly the best work of life.
T. Pat Cavanaugh is the publisher of The Rockdale News.