Spirit, generosity fill LANB for United Way kickoff

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By Carol A. Clark

In its characteristically generous support of causes that enhance the community’s quality of life, Los Alamos National Bank opened its doors Wednesday evening for the United Way’s “People Matter” 2009 Campaign kickoff event.

LANB Vice President Jill Cook presented a $50,000 check to Monitor Publisher and Campaign Chair Ralph Damiani and Executive Director Donna Schroeder of the United Way of Northern New Mexico, serving Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties.

“LANB has seen the positive impact that United Way has had in our communities in helping youth, seniors and families in need and we feel fortunate to be a part of it,” Cook said.

Cook has been involved with United Way for many years and chaired last year’s successful campaign.

“I’m excited about this year’s campaign,” she said. “Ralph is going to do a wonderful job and I know he will exceed the goal and we’ll have more money for grants and for our member agencies.”

Damiani announced this year’s campaign goal is $1.6 million. Last year the United Way campaign raised $1.7 million. Damiani praised LANB for their strong support of United Way, which he said has continued for many years.

“The bank and its management have been there for the community and for United Way,” Damiani said. “We hope that in these difficult financial times everyone follows that example and helps support the many agencies that are funded through United Way.”

SOC (formally PTLA) is another longtime contributor to United Way.

“For the entire 13 years I’ve been here, PTLA, now SOC, has always been proud to support this critical organization that provides funding for 18 health and human service organizations, which multiplies the effort to help those in need,” said Mike Wilson, deputy general manager and director of operations.

Wilson served on the United Way Board and current SOC General Manager Ken Freeman serves on the board.

“We’ve had an official on the board since PTLA came to town 16 years ago starting with Marty Strones and Jack Killeen,” Wilson said. “We’re very involved with this effort and proud to once again contribute $10,000.”

KSL also donated $10,000 to the nonprofit organization.

Rep. Jeannette Wallace, R-Los Alamos, Sandoval and Santa Fe counties, is a longtime United Way supporter.

“I think we’re all well aware of the importance of United Way for northern New Mexico and the fact that they support all these fine organizations that help so many people,” Wallace said.

Los Alamos County Vice Chair Robert Gibson also is a United Way supporter.

“This is one of the ways in which our community really works,” Gibson said. “It’s one of the very strong threads in the community’s fabric. Our United Way program is very well run and deserves strong community support.”

Schroeder expressed her gratefulness to everyone who turned out for the big event and to the generosity of the corporate donations.

“I’m really happy everyone was here tonight to meet our agencies and support our kickoff,” she said. “We really appreciate the generosity of Los Alamos National Bank, SOC and KSL, they’ve helped start off our campaign in a good way.”

Member agencies’ information booths lined the outer lobby and a delectable buffet created by Chef Phil Kephart of Central Avenue Grill was centered inside the bank.

Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Holsapple and Member Services Coordinator Katy Korkos spoke to the large crowd gathered in the bank. The Chamber is hosting its annual golf tournament to benefit United Way on Sept. 19 at the Los Alamos Municipal Golf Course. Last year’s tournament raised thousands of dollars for the United Way campaign, Korkos said.

Other campaign activities include a “People Matter” bowling event from 6-9 p.m., Sept. 27 at Big Rock Bowling Center in Espanola.

An “Eat Dessert First!” event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m., Oct. 25 at Central Avenue Grill.

Tickets and registration for all three events are available by calling 663-4028 or at the United Way office at 1200 Trinity Drive, Fourth Floor, Suite 418.