United Way honors its heroes Volunteers noted at campaign kickoff

September 23, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

The United Way of Central Maryland calls Lillie Hamson an unsung hero.

Mrs. Hamson, however, says her nearly 20 years of volunteer work for the Red Cross Bloodmobile was simply a way to keep busy.

"When you live alone, it fills your time up and keeps your mind occupied," says Mrs. Hamson, who lives in Linthicum.

Mrs. Hamson was among several "unsung heroes" honored at the Anne Arundel United Way's 1992 fund-raising kickoff held at the Annapolis Marriott Hotel.

Mrs. Hamson said that when she first volunteered for the Red Cross in 1973 she was looking for something to occupy her time. Her stepdaughters had left home, her mother-in-law and mother had died. Her husband was working. "I had an empty house," she said.

At the same time the United Way honored its heroes, it also was calling on Anne Arundel residents to give a little more this year.

This year's 1992 fund-raising is nearly $1.5 million -- 27 percent above the $1.1 million county residents gave last year but less than last year's goal $1.9 million.

Dan Colussy, chairman of UNC Inc. and chairman of the county's fund raising effort, said he was confident that county residents would meet the goal this year. He said he planned to emphasize statistics that show the county was given $3.3 million by the United Way of Central Maryland even though it contributed only $1.1 million.

At the same time, he said, he recognized the fund-raising could be hampered by the economy and the bad publicity surrounding the ouster of the president of the United Way of America earlier this year.

Mr. Colussy said less than one percent of the money raised by the Central Maryland United Way goes to the national headquarters and only 13 percent of the money donated goes to administrative costs.

The United Way of Central Maryland began its 1992 fund-raising campaign today, setting a goal of $40 million. As part of the kickoff, 600 corporate volunteers are volunteering at 60 non-profit agencies in the region.

Concerns about fund-raising didn't seem to dampen the spirit of the United Way staff and volunteers who attended yesterday's breakfast.

The Anne Arundel County United Way used the occasion to recognize several volunteers.

In addition to Mrs. Hamson, the organization recognized: Brain Hillberry, a volunteer with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program; Margie Bryce, a volunteer in the Legal Aid Bureau; Carolyn Sullivan, who serves on the public relations committee of the YWCA; and Richard Hawes, who helps with the YMCA.

Last year, the United Way helped approximately 198,000 Anne Arundel residents in programs such as career development and employment counseling at the YWCA; emergency food, shelter and clothing assistance at the Salvation Army; and child abuse prevention counseling with Parents Anonymous of Maryland.

This year's United Way campaign runs until Jan. 20.

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