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Thankful All Year Long Starts Here

It's been almost nine months since I started my journey as the United Way of Gordon County Executive Director. I can't believe how time has flown and how much has been accomplished in such a short period. As I was reflecting on my journey, one of the things that kept coming to mind was how many people have helped me in my career and have helped United Way of Gordon County, our Partner Agencies, and the community at large.


In our hectic schedules and busy lives, we often forget to say a simple thank you. I know I'm guilty of that and fall short frequently. To spend more time focusing on showing appreciation for the men, women, children, and entities that have shaped and enriched our community, United Way of Gordon County has created an inaugural Unity Awards event to thank volunteers in our community. I want to go a step further and focus on sharing appreciation through the remainder of this year. I also want to challenge others to begin showing appreciation to those who have shaped and inspired you.


United Way Board at Casino Night 2024
Giles Jones, Amanda Ruddell, Stacy Long, Jody Darby, Mary Ann Owens-Stone (United Way of Gordon County Board Members)

Our first appreciation spotlight is to thank everyone who made Casino Night 2024 a success. This was my first United Way Casino Night, and I was both excited and a little nervous about the event. I'm not a gambler and have only ever played slots a few times in my life: 1) because I'm cheap, 2) because I don't have a very good poker face, and 3) Lady luck is NEVER on my side. All of that aside, I did make a few blunders this year on the logistical side of things, but overall, I think everyone had a blast. The event was successful and will be returning in 2025.


Casino Night 2024 Caterer
Kandace Johnson with the Water Tower Grille

After expenses, we cleared a little more than $20,000, making our 2024 event the biggest in our history. We couldn't have done it without our 2024 Casino Night Sponsors. We especially appreciate our Casino Royale sponsors, John Meadows Memorial and Mohawk. I also need to thank Kandace Johnson from the Water Tower Grille for providing such delicious food and for all your hard work. My United Way Board members did a fabulous job helping make this event successful and fun. I also need to thank Kayla Ralston for covering pictures and HitMix Music for providing DJ services. If I've forgotten someone, I apologize in advance. I thank you all for helping make this event fantastic!


Guests at Casino Night 2024
Celina Locke and Marilyn Roland

When we first started planning this year's event, we were looking for an amazing venue that would be large enough to add some additional tables and be a one-level space. One of my board members recommended the Elks Lodge, and from our first conversation to event completion, I was nothing but impressed. I can't say enough great things about the Calhoun Elks Lodge and how wonderful they were to allow our event to be held in their beautiful facility. Marilyn Roland, the Elkettes, and the rest of the group were amazing. I don't know how many people stopped by while we were setting up to check on us and offer encouragement, best wishes, and assistance.


While most people think of the golf course when they think of the Elks Lodge, their true service to the community goes well beyond their facilities. For years, the Elks and Elkettes have supported not just United Way Partner Agencies but also other programs and organizations within our community. They raise funds and work diligently to raise awareness for causes that are close to their hearts. I know they have worked with Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club of Gordon County, Calhoun-Gordon Council for a Literate Community, Gordon County Domestic Violence Outreach, Red Cross of Northwest GA, Voluntary Action Center, and Winner's Club. Their involvement with these United Way Partner Agencies scratches the surface of their work in Gordon County. I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for helping make Casino Night a success and for your commitment to this community. Thank you for being United4Gordon.

Calhoun Elks Lodge Members
"2022-23 Installation of Officers from Calhoun Elks 1883". Calhoun Elks Lodge website. 04/05/22

Thank you to everyone for supporting me in this journey, for supporting United Way of Gordon County and our Partner Agencies, and for caring about Gordon County. Thank you for being United4Gordon and for inspiring me and others.

United4Gordon Logo










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