• To everyone involved in helping the United Way of Cass County to exceed this year’s fundraising goal. Though pledges are still coming in, the organization announced this week that its campaign had already topped this year’s goal of $600,075. The organization had tacked on the extra $75 in honor of the organization’s 75th anniversary, but the campaign led by Joe Johnson, plant manager of The Andersons plant in Walton, has already exceeded that amount. The organization hopes to announce the final total in early January. “This is a wonderful Christmas present to the community, and I am proud to have been a part of it, but it is those volunteers that gave of their time this year to raise the funds and all of the donors that gave willingly and generously that deserve the credit,” said Johnson. “I wish to say thank you to everyone. The agencies will begin a New Year with added security thanks to you.” This is the fourth year the United Way has exceeded its annual goal. In 2009, it surpassed its $510,000 goal by more than $40,000. In 2010, the organization raised the bar to $550,000 and again exceeded its goal. Last year, the organization exceed a $575,000 goal by raising more than $600,000.
• To Karen Menzie, a sales associate of Lucas Home Furnishings, on her second annual Sock Tree collection. Through today, the stores in Kokomo and Logansport are accepting donations to fill four trees with socks. For every pair donated, Lucas Home Furnishings will donate two pairs. Socks collected in Logansport will be donated to the Salvation Army and Emmaus Mission. Menzie said the store collected 600 pairs at last year’s event, but this year’s event should be even bigger since the company’s Kokomo stores have joined the effort. The idea for the sock tree came from a photo in Life magazine of a homeless man sleeping on the street with a coat and old, dress shoes, but no socks. “This picture had such a lasting impression on me, that no matter the economy, I wanted to be sure anyone I knew in need would have nice, warm socks,” Menzie said in an email.
• To the organizers of Walton’s Small Town Christmas celebration. Nearly 60 people attended the event, enjoying holiday cookie refreshments, crafts, a visit from Santa Claus and time with other members of the community. The Walton Lions Club helped to host the event. Club president Gordon Southern said the goal was to put together an event focused on families and the community. “Some small communities are dying and having events like this helps out in the community,” he said. “Also, with the economy the way it is, we like to have an event that doesn’t cost anything.”
• To the local health professionals and community leaders who recently gathered at Logansport Memorial Hospital to discuss what they would do in the event of a public health emergency. Organized by the Indiana State Department of Health and the Cass County Health Department, the event gave participants a chance to learn how entities from local schools to the Emmaus Mission Center could be of use if there were a widespread public health crisis. Everyone hopes the plans developed in such gatherings never have to be put in place, but we all understand the importance of being ready just in case.
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