United Way Southeast Idaho kicks off 2012 campaign

Virginia Kelly of Pocatello is a former teacher who supported United Way during her career.
"I retired in 2000 but continued to support United Way," Kelly said during the organization's kickoff event at the Shoshone-Bannock Hotel on Wednesday. She was one of several volunteers who participated in the kickoff breakfast.
During his keynote address, Gene Withers, the campaign chairman, said, "volunteers do so much for the area we live in. If you want to change the world, live unitedly."
Withers, who has lived in Southeast Idaho for 20 years, noted that he suffered from pancreatic cancer and had that organ, part of his liver and part of his bowel removed.
"I was within a few credits of a doctoral degree, but when people asked me if I was going to finish it after my surgery, I told them, 'no, I don't have the guts for it.
"Volunteering cheered me up," he continued.
He pointed out that many organizations receive financial and personnel support from volunteers.
"How could these organizations continue without volunteers?" he asked. "I suggest we all continue to invest and volunteer in a united way.
"Ask potential donors what they can give up to maintain programs," he suggested. "The work of United Way would not be possible without the talent and dedication of volunteers like you all."
This is the 125th anniversary of United Way nationally and the 58th year of United Way Southeast Idaho (UWSEI).
UWSEI serves Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Power and Oneida counties.
"This is the time when people rise to the challenge," UWSEI's Margaret Ganyo said as she announced this year's goal of $630,000.
Among Bingham County employers who participate in UWSEI's campaign is Blackfoot School District No. 55.
"We've been involved for several years," said interim superintendent Chad Struhs. "United Way sometimes helps us and we offer opportunities for our employees so they can donate."
Wal-Mart employees are also among those donate through their company.
For more information about UWSEI's campaign or volunteer opportunities, go to www.seidahovolunteer.org or call 232-1389.