Last week members of the organizations that comprise the United Fund of Surry gathered at Cross Creek Country Club in Mount Airy to honor their own. They were on hand to recognize community partners who helped the agency exceed this year’s robust campaign goal and raise more than $530,000.
“We couldn’t have done this without the tireless support of community-minded companies who believe in our mission,” said Melissa Hiatt, executive director of United Fund of Surry. “Thanks to them, we can continue to help sustain the work of our 25 member agencies and the people they serve.”
“Our success is due to the dedication of our citizens taking care of their neighbors. I am blessed to be a very small part of what happens here,” she said.
“We would like to thank all our donors, sponsors, partners, agencies, and volunteers for making 2022 and success. I can’t wait to see what 2023 holds,” Hiatt said.
Darren Lewis, assistant city manager of Mount Airy who led the campaign, said he had enjoyed leading the effort and was handing the reins to someone he knows can deliver an even greater result next year. “It was a pleasure to serve as the chairperson for this year, and the person taking over next year is a good friend of mine.
“We have competed for many, many years, and I usually always beat her at everything but for next year I am going to help her win,” he said introducing Traci George. “We hope her to exceed the goal, you have your work cut out for you.”
Traci George has a bit of a reputation for being driven and upon seeing the task ahead, kept it short and sweet saying, “I can’t wait to beat Darren.”
Hiatt has said that having partners in the community and business world who support the United Fund of Surry’s mission makes everything possible for her organization. Simply put, for her, “There is no finer place to live than Surry County.”
She made a special note of the more than 300 donors to the United Fund of Surry who are not in the workforce or participating in the workplace campaigns, but who still donated to the cause.
“The reason that we do all that we do, all year long, is to support our member agencies. We have member agencies that provide services to the people of Surry County to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to have a full and fruitful life.”
“Our agencies are the ones who really do the work out in the community and put forward the time and the effort to see that individual’s needs are met,” she explained.
Hiatt told the audience that in 2022 United Fund of Surry agencies aided 29,084 citizens of Surry County. They helped over 11,000 citizens with their education in some form, provided counseling services for 7,642 people, supplied 93,505 meals. She also said that 10,156 units of lodging were provided, “So someone can have a bed to lay on at night.”
She thanked the Mont Airy and Surry County boards of commissioners for helping find the silver lining from COVID and granting some of the federal pandemic relief dollars to the United Fund of Surry. Hiatt called it unexpected money that she was able to use to create opportunities. “We were able to do things we would not have done before.”
At the luncheon, the United Fund of Surry honored their Hometown Hero award to Carter Bank & Trust, and Surry Friends of Youth. The Chairman’s Choice Award went to Chick-fil-A and the Pat Woltz Way to Glow Award was presented to Insteel, and the Dave Green Achievement Award was awarded to Alliance Insurance Services and Ashley Mills.
The Terri Mosley Volunteer Achievement Award was given to the late Bob Meinecke Jr. and his wife Judy accepted it in his honor. In her introduction Hiatt noted how much Meinecke had helped and guided her, along with so many others in this area. His compassionate work with The Shepherd’s House and civic leadership will be long remembered by member of the United Fund of Surry and the community at large.