NORMAN — It was a packed house Friday morning at Journey Church as more than 400 volunteers gathered for the United Way of Norman’s 20th annual Day of Caring. It’s the largest group of volunteers ever for the event.
Workers from 35 different companies and organizations spent the day completing service projects at 27 nonprofit agencies around Norman. Projects ranged from yard work to painting to minor construction.
United Way campaign chairs James Chappel and John Koons announced the total amount of money raised by this year’s pacesetters, $901,854, and officially kicked off the community phase of the 2013 United Way campaign. The goal for this year’s campaign is $2.5 million.
“We thank our pacesetter companies. They gave us a big number to get us started with our campaign,” Chappel said.
During the early morning kick-off, University of Oklahoma men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger spoke to the crowd.
“If you get up every day and think about doing the little things, be on time, be respectful of others, a lot of what we do is about others. What you’re doing today is about others,” Kruger said. “It’s always about others. We don’t go a day without talking to our players about treating others right, being respectful, treating others like you want to be treated. Growing up, the few things that Dad always emphasized was, for one, if you don’t have anything good to say about someone, you say nothing at all, never talk about others. Never talk about yourself, that’s why everything is ‘we’ and we talk to our players about ‘we.’ What you are doing today is about ‘we.’ It is about community, it is about others. It’s amazing what the world would be like if everyone, every day got up and thought about what they could do to help someone else. So many times we are going so fast, we are so concerned about what is going on, about what we are going to do today to help ourselves. Again, what you are doing today is so valuable and so satisfying and I know you are going to feel that if you don’t already.”
Chappel urged the eager crowd of volunteers to remember everyone they saw during their day of service.
“When you go to these agencies, when you go to these programs, I want you to remember everything you see and see what is lacking and what is needed. See what they are doing see what their mission is, see their clients. And then go back (into the community) and talk about it,” Chappel said.
Koons thanked the volunteers for their service.
“All of you in this room this morning are sitting here giving yourselves to serve those who serve others, that’s got to be the best feeling in the world,” Koons said.
Day of Caring chair Nyky Wilson was pleased with the amount raised by Pacesetter companies.
“I think it’s setting a high goal and asking the community to step it up and help us out,” Wilson said.