Last updated: November 14. 2013 9:42AM - 741 Views

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It wasn’t me! I didn’t do it. Honest.

Last week our administrative assistant at the United Way took a strange call late in the afternoon. The caller wanted to report that Bill Jones, president of the United Way of Wyoming Valley, jumped over the counter at a pizza place in Mountain Top and assaulted the pizza maker. Supposedly the alleged assailant (meaning me) was arrested and the caller wanted the United Way staff and board of directors to know of this behavior.

Needless to say, our administrative assistant was speechless! When I got out of a meeting, she asked me where I went and what happened at lunch today. I thought the question was a bit odd because she was talking to me as I ate my lunch at my desk, and she knew I didn’t leave the office at all that day.

She then told me about the phone call.

Being a resident of Mountain Top and a patron of the restaurant from time to time, I called to ask what happened. Sure enough, there was some type of altercation and a “Bill Jones” was arrested. As our office staff obviously knew, it wasn’t me, and, thankfully, the pizza place already realized that the president of the United Way was not involved.

It has been 30-plus years since I was in a real physical fight and playing high school basketball. Now, at nearly 50 years old and a business professional, I know better than to fight, especially over a pizza. Plus, at my size and not being the in same shape I was as a teenager, chances are, I’d get hurt!

While violence is never the right answer, there are some things we all ought to “fight” for. The United Way of Wyoming Valley is fighting to reduce social service need in the community by addressing the underlying causes creating that need. We want to protect the safety net for the most vulnerable. We are working to provide opportunities for children, promote educational achievement, encourage family-sustaining wages, and advocate for healthier lifestyles and choices.

Although I hate to admit it, the fight to secure the resources through the United Way campaign has been exceptionally difficult so far this year. Regionally, the unemployment rate remains high, health care issues and costs have created uncertainty and fear, several large donors have passed away or relocated, and businesses are still recovering and are very cautious about their spending.

It is indeed a challenging fundraising environment. Yet, the work of the United Way is critically important and worth fighting for. Because I am fairly sure we will not get arrested for our fighting, we would like to ask you to fight with us.

Attacking our communities’ greatest needs such as hunger, poverty, violence, homelessness, abuse and addiction won’t be easy. We can only win the fight for change if we fight together.

If you haven’t made a pledge to support the United Way this year, please contact us today. There is still time to make a difference. Ever-increasing social service need is not only an issue for the United Way, the nonprofit agencies or county government. These are community issues that affect all of us and will require all of us to work together if we want real change.

The community needs your help. Will you do your part? Please join the United Way’s fight, and I promise I won’t jump over the counter and come after you … even if you mess with my pepperoni and extra cheese. Honest!

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