United Way of Wilson County kicked off its 2014 campaign Thursday at The Mill in Lebanon.
United Way Executive Director John McMillin said this year’s goal is $500,000.
“This is the first time we’ve ever reached that limit,” he said.
Last year, the campaign goal was $435,000 and the total raised was $440,000. McMillin said he feels confident that the $500,000 goal is attainable. The Wilson County Publix stores combined with a corporate gift to send $150,000 to the cause.
Board member J.B. Owens welcomed the crowd that included many sponsors as well as corporations with fundraising campaigns. He told the audience that “tonight is about appreciating our sponsors, our donors and our community.”
To that end, he presented the charity’s highest honor, the Lawrence and Peggy West Award. Peggy West and her daughter Jackie Cowden, CEO of Custom Packaging, were on hand to present the plaque.
“The West family and Custom Packaging has been involved with United Way for over 20 years,” said Cowden. “We are pleased to announce this year’s winner for outstanding community service.”
The award went to Hospital Corporation of America and was accepted by Steve Vastola, who thanked West and Cowden for the honor.
Another plaque was also given out Thursday evening.
“I want to recognize someone who means so much to United Way,” Owens said.
Linda Spencer has been with United Way since 2003. She recently announced her plans to retire, and Owens along with McMillin presented her an appreciation plaque.
Spencer said she will retire Dec. 8 and has plans to travel. Her first stop will be Gulf Shores, Ala., she said.
The evening concluded with a “game show” featuring questions relating to facts about United Way.