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United Way is on a mission
United Way of the Coastal Empire campaign chairman Sam McCachern soars into the Savannah Civic Center. - photo by Photo by Paul Floeckher

SAVANNAH — Sam McCachern made a quite an entrance to illustrate the theme for this year’s fundraising campaign for the United Way of the Coastal Empire, “Mission: Possible.”

Decked out in a tuxedo and sunglasses, the campaign chairman rappelled from the ceiling of the Savannah Civic Center as the crowd cheered and the Johnny Rivers song “Secret Agent Man” blared over the speakers.

Once his feet were on the ground, McCachern told the audience of United Way supporters that they too are “secret agents,” meaning they give back to the community without fanfare. They all will be counted on to help meet this year’s campaign goal of raising $8.7 million to support United Way agencies in Effingham, Chatham, Bryan and Liberty counties.

“Some needs (in the community) are known. Some are secret. Our mission is possible,” McCachern said. “There are thousands of ‘secret agents’ among us who put their hearts and souls into making life better for others.”

The United Way’s Effingham Service Center will have its campaign kickoff on Sept. 12, from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Effingham College and Career Academy.

“Today was to build the excitement and get the momentum going,” said Effingham Area Director Bonnie Dixon. “Next week in Effingham we will again celebrate the successes that United Way has seen, recognize all our agencies that receive funding, and just help the community understand how important United Way is in Effingham County and how it serves so many people.”

A limited number of seats for next week’s Effingham campaign kickoff are available, Dixon said. It is free of charge. To make a reservation to attend, call the Effingham Service Center at 826-5300.

The United Way of the Coastal Empire’s $8,777,007 campaign target is a 6-percent increase over last year’s goal, which Dixon described as “amazing” considering the current economic times. She said some United Way leaders were hopeful the campaign totals would simply remain steady at a time when so many people are struggling financially and may not be able to donate to causes as they once did.

“To me, it just shows the heart this community has,” she said. “We recognize that, by helping someone who needs help, we make the community stronger.”