There was bound to be a degree of disappointment by Franklin County Area United Way officials in not quite reaching the $1 million goal in this year’s campaign. However, a record amount, $969,709, was raised.

To raise that amount, the largest ever, is a success story. Economic conditions being what they are, it is something to be thankful for, and for the hard-working leaders, we are grateful for their efforts.

There is no question that many contributors made sacrifices and gave what they could afford. The donors believe in the United Way of giving and in the member agencies’ programs. The donors know the benefits from the programs and have faith in the agencies that provide the services. They trust the United Way.

Special recognition needs to be directed to the industries and businesses that conduct employee campaigns and make company gifts. This group is vital to any fund campaign. The cooperation given is outstanding.

Ameren Missouri tops the list of special donors. The company and its employees contributed $105,035, a 2 percent increase over last year. Ranking No. 2 was Melton Machine and Control, an employee-owned company that donated a total of $84,354. That is a 22 percent increase from a company that just has 88 employees.

A tradtional high donor was No. 3 in gifts. That is the Bank of Washington. The bank and its employees donated $65,057. Ranking fourth was Sporlan Valve, a division of Parker, which had a remarkable 38 percent increase, a total of $48,973. New to the Top 5 is Mercy Hospital Washington with a gift of $36,394.

The leadership in these, and all the major donor companies, deserves high praise.  

Without the major gifts from companies and individuals, the nearly $1 million raised would not have been possible. The generosity demonstrated in this campaign speaks well of the communities and their residents. This is another demonstration of the caring attitude that is present in the Franklin County area.

The result of the drive is a nice sendoff to Paula Obermark, executive director of the Franklin County Area United Way, who is retiring. A salute to the co-chairs of the drive, Brad Mitchell and Becky Buhr, is in order also. They did a great job.

The campaign was a success because the people in this area have trust in the United Way and recognize the good that the member agencies do.