United in Spirits’ raises money and spirits
United Way of Highway 55 held their inaugural fundraiser May 21 on BBQ Hill overlooking the Jack Daniels distillery. A limited number of tickets were sold, and this event was one of only two outside organizational events in 2022 scheduled on BBQ Hill. Over 160 people attended, and the evening consisted of an upscale dinner, live entertainment by Utopia, and silent auction.
National Aerospace Solutions supported the event as the Diamond Sponsor and Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton Hospital as the Platinum Sponsor. Gold Sponsors included US Display Group, Woodard’s Diamond and Design, Lynchburg Winery, KIRCHHOFF Automotive Farmers Home Furniture, Lee Adcock Construction, Fruehauf Service Co, The Feathered Nest Event Co, and Bowman On-Target Marketing (93.9 The Duck, Rooster 101.5, & Whiskey Country 105.1). Along with these top sponsors, there were 18 Silver and six Bronze businesses that supported the fundraiser and evening. United Way of Hwy 55 Director, Ashley Abraham, explains “This night would not have been possible without each of our sponsors. We had a variety of auction items from businesses around our community, so thank you to those that donated.”
Black Rifle Coffee Co. served cold brew coffee and handed out coffee bags to attendees. Every attendee went home with a wood engraved coaster made by Jack Daniels and United Way cookie by Sami Kay Cookies. Top Sponsors received engraved Gentleman Jack bottles and tour tickets.
“Certain sponsor levels were able to tour a cave below the event space the night of the event,” Abraham revealed. “We wanted to give our top sponsors an experience they would not forget and to thank them for their support.”
Speakers of the night included National Aerospace Solutions (Diamond Sponsor), President & General Manager: Rich Tighe and Deputy General Manager: Wayne Monteith. They spoke about their employee payroll deduction program and presented the UW55 Director and Board with a $33,231 (2022 Employee Payroll Deduction Total) check. Other speakers of the night included Cindy Kenney, Director of The Good Samaritan of Tullahoma and Cassell Galligan-Davis, Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center, 31st Judicial District. They spoke on how the United Way funds help their mission in the counties we serve.
“We raised over $30,000,” Abraham said. “The list of people and businesses to thank is long. This is the first big gathering we have been able to hold since COVID. These funds will help pay vet bills for injured animals or control the overpopulation of animals. It provides affordable childcare to low-income families. These funds support an after school and summer program that provides activities and tutoring for less fortunate children. That may be there only safe place. It supports a nonprofit that provides a recreational horseback riding program designed to improve the quality of life for individuals with physical and/or intellectual challenges. It helps provide free healthcare to the working uninsured. These are real missions and stories happening in our community daily. Along with many others. Our goal is to protect your donated dollars and place them were most needed and that will create the biggest impact. We appreciate the support.”
United Way of Highway 55 would like to thank their Board Members: Michele Simmons (Board Chair), Michele Carmack (Treasurer), Ashley Wright (Secretary), Ashley Kraft, Ryan Andrews, Monty Hawkins, Amanda Martin, Pamela Barnes, and Marsha Hale. United Way of Highway 55 event committee members included Jenny Orr, Emily Rice, Marsha Hale, Holly Buchanan, Michele Simmons, Michelle Carmack, Ryan Andrews, Pam Bussell, Amanda Martin, and Ashley Kraft.
“Huge thanks and special recognition to Board Member Marsha Hale who went over and beyond to ensure this was a successful fundraiser. And Jack Daniels event coordinator Dianne Potts. Our goal is to raise more, so we can give more to our local nonprofits. All funds raised here, stay in the 3 counties we serve: Coffee, Moore, and Warren. We are excited to continue this fundraiser for years to come and continue to build the awareness and support. It is a gorgeous venue. Thank you to all attendees, volunteers, sponsors, and businesses that donated auction items. It takes a village. United.”