Area United Ways kick off multi-million dollar fundraising campaign

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Area United Ways joined forces to kick off their annual fundraising drives on Wednesday.

Eight organizations from northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia got together at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport that afternoon.

United Way of Greater Kingsport Campaign Chair Roger Smith announced a regional goal of nearly $10 million.

The keynote speaker, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, helped motivate the crowd. He talked about being drafted into the Army and being severely injured in Vietnam.

He explained how he was able to work hard and go on to have an illustrious NFL career. "Telling the story of overcoming obstacles and facing challenges, and not giving up, which is always the theme of all agencies. In United Way itself, people helping people," said Bleier.

While most United Ways work with similar programs such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts, each one works with programs that fill certain needs in their particular communities.

The eight United Ways participating in today's event were Bristol TN/VA, Elizabethton/Carter County, Greater Kingsport, Greene County, Hawkins County, Southwest Virginia, Virginia Highlands and Washington County, TN.

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