Not only did the United Way meet its $1.6 million goal, it surpassed it, and the campaign isn't over! And one very lucky Rowan County resident won a new car!
Anyone who donated $52 or more was given a chance to win a car from Ben Mynatt, Gerry Wood, Cloninger or Team Auto Group. Over the course of eight weeks, thousands of folks were able to enter their name in the drawing, and 12 names were chosen. Those 12 people got to ride in cars from the four dealerships and arrived at the Norvell Theater, arriving to the event in style and also given the celebrity treatment of a red carpet, paparazzi and doorman.
United Way Chairman Steve Fisher and Kent Bernhardt emceed the event, and as different committee reports were given throughout the presentation, names were drawn, and finalists were eliminated. The last contestants - Joyce Ervin, an employee at the Rowan Public Library, and Edwin Martinez, Freightliner - appeared particularly nervous as the final drawing was held.
Martinez was literally the last man standing and won the car. He was overcome with emotions, even shedding a few tears, and couldn't believe he had won.
Then the drawing was held to determine which dealership would provide Martinez's car. Cloninger Ford won. Too bad Team Auto Group couldn't send Martinez away in a Chevrolet Cruze - currently the top-selling vehicle in America.
Team Auto Group grew its own campaign at the dealership, raising 10 times what it did in 2010. Another event brought in $500 for the United Way - The First Annual Halloween Team Scream Contest and Fall Festival.
Twelve people participated in the Scream Contest, and the winner for the girls, Aniya Simmons, 9, practiced Friday night for the contest, she said, and was the first to sign up Saturday morning. She even sacrificed getting to a birthday party on time for the contest... but it was worth it, she said. Her mother, Sheree Forbes, won the women's category.
Steppin' Out Dance Company also had around 50 girls perform several Halloween dances, and Megan Braun, Junior Elite Miss North Carolina, sang a few songs to warm up the crowd.
The pie throwing brought the most participants, and raised more than $50 alone for the United Way. Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten and Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins were dressed in orange inmate clothing, teasing those throwing the pies. We offered to let them take a walk through our car wash, but they declined. They had a lot of fun, and it was definitely the highlight of Saturday's event.
The hot dogs were almost completely gone (240 of them), so I'd say we had a pretty good turnout at the festival.
Bob Pendergrass from Dan Nicholas Park was very busy showing off two snakes, a tarantula and a blue-tongued skink. The Rowan County Sheriff's Office brought a Chevrolet Caprice, and the Salisbury Fire Department brought a fire truck and the smoke house. The petting zoo from Clippity Clop To You brought with them ducks, a mini horse, goats, chickens and rabbits, and Kristina from Face Painting Party Girls didn't get a break from the line of children waiting to have their faces transformed to beautiful butterflies or scary monsters. 99.7 FM The Fox was also there doing a live broadcast from the lot.
A big special thanks go to all of our volunteers:
- Salisbury High School Air Force JROTC
- Rowan County Sheriff's Explorers
- Boy Scouts of Rowan County
- J.F. Hurley YMCA
- Rory Collins and Kevin Auten
Without the volunteers we couldn't have had the event.
We ended up raising just under $500 for the United Way of Rowan County and hope that next year we can at least double the amount.
We are so grateful for everyone in the community who cared enough about the United Way and its services to donate this year. We can't wait to get started on next year's campaign!