United Way celebrates surpassing fundraising goal; volunteers recognized

Tribune photo by January Rutherford / Mary Ellen Jaynes from JCB speaks to a crowd during the Jackson County United Way campaign kickoff event Wednesday at the Knights of Columbus. Jaynes is this year's campaign drive chair.

The Jackson County United Way’s 2016 fund-raising campaign ended more than $15,000 above the $810,000 goal, but there’s little time to rest on that success because planning for this year’s campaign already has begun.

On Sunday, the organization’s leaders and others involved in the 2016 campaign, which raised $825,724, celebrated during a program at the Knights of Columbus in downtown Seymour.

The talk, however, quickly turned to making this year’s campaign even more successful, especially as the organization also is celebrating its 55th year of existence.

This past year’s campaign, led by Mary Ellen Jaynes of Seymour, was “2016 Growing Together: From Roots to Results.”

Jaynes said the campaign had a very strong start due to the employees of Blue and Co. and the schools of Jackson County.

“I tell you, these employees get it,” she said. “They are part of the movement before Day 1 of the campaign, and we thank them. From the start, we were able to ride the momentum into our business and industrial meetings to continue to share the importance of giving to United Way.”

Rick and Jennifer Meyer of Seymour will co-chair this year’s campaign. The theme for that campaign and a goal have yet to be announced.

Rick Meyer, an officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, said Jaynes did an excellent job with the 2016 campaign, and he and his wife are excited about this year’s.

“As a police officer, I already deal with a lot of the agencies, and as a schoolteacher, my wife deals with some, too,” he said.

He said United Way has an important place in the community, and planning for each campaign is an ongoing process.

For more on the awards presented during the program and information about United Way, read the full story in Wednesday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.