[October 15, 2013]The United Way of Logan County
supports a great many local organizations with financial
contributions. Each year the demand for money for these
organizations grows, and the local United Way works to find the
funding to help as many as possible.
This year, United Way administrator Marla Blair said her
organization needs to raise $130,000 to meet the needs of its
partners in 2014.
Saturday night the organization had its annual
Tailgate party at the Maple Club, just outside of town. The
fundraiser brings dollars into the organization through dinner
ticket sales, a silent auction and a few raffles. It was a packed
house with those who had come to enjoy the tailgate food, good music
and a great time spent with family and friends.
The silent auction offered some excellent merchandise, and
bidders seemed to be plentiful, as there was seldom a time during
the evening that there were not at least a few wandering through the
offerings and adding their names to the bid sheets.
WCLN radio was on hand early in the evening with a remote feed.
They kept the music flowing until it was nearly time for the live
entertainment to begin.
At the door, guests were invited to enter a drawing for a new
iPad and a raffle for $500 worth of groceries from Lincoln IGA. At
the end of the night, Jan Schacht of the Lincoln YMCA won the iPad,
and Lucas Lamb was the winner of the groceries.
About an hour or so into the evening, Gene Frioli of Logan-Mason
Rehab offered a few words to the audience about his group and its
involvement with United Way. Frioli was introduced by United Way
board member Chris Cicci, who spent the evening as emcee.
Frioli told the audience he has had a relationship with the
United Way for over 28 years, when he began as the administrator of
the rehab center. He remembered that his organization was in dire
straits but was denied any funding from the United Way the first
year. He said he believed the United Way wanted to see just how
dedicated he was to his organization and how dedicated he would
become to the United Way. In the end, Frioli worked his way into the
board of the United Way and spent many years working with and for
The United Way is now a supporter of the rehab center, and Frioli
thanked them profusely for what they do for his organization. He
talked about how the people he works with at the rehab center have
needs that many people never encounter. He said the funding from the
United Way helps those people to grow.
Frioli paraphrased a comment made once by Hubert Humphrey and
said: "The true measure of any society is how it treats those in the
dawn of life, children; how it treats individuals in the dusk of
life, the elderly; and how it treats those who are in the dark of
life, that is the poor, the disadvantaged and the disabled."
Frioli also talked about Dr. Leo Buscaglia, who was better known
by many as "Dr. Love." He quoted Buscaglia: "Too often we
underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
Frioli explained that Buscaglia began his career in the field of
special education, but he experienced a life-changing event when one
of the students at the university where he taught committed suicide.
Afterward, Buscaglia asked his students if any of them had seen
signs of this coming. He learned that in the group no one really
knew the person; no one had ever made the effort to be a true friend
to the student.
This moved Buscaglia to rededicate his life to encouraging human
interaction, and that is how he became Dr. Love and would go on to
speak at many engagements and host a weekly show promoting the
practice of caring for one another.
This is the work that the rehab center does. It gives the
residents and clientele an opportunity to have real human
relationships, friendships that keep the clients moving in a
positive direction in spite of the challenges they have in their
Frioli thanked the audience and the United Way for supporting the
work of Logan-Mason Rehab.
Immediately following, Cicci and Blair presented Frioli with a
plaque commemorating his lifelong commitment to helping others.
The rest of the evening was devoted to good food, good music and
good fun. The Maple Club provided the menu, which included
make-your-own pulled pork pitas, make-your-own soft tacos, brats,
coleslaw, potato salad, guacamole dip and chips, cheese ball with
crackers, and a variety of cookies.
At approximately 9 p.m. the silent auction was closed and winners
later announced. The evening ended with a live band providing
On Monday, Blair was pleased with the way the evening turned out,
but she wanted to emphasize that the money raised is only a small
portion of what will be needed for the 2014 year. The United Way
needs the support of Logan County individuals and businesses in
order to be able to help those who need it most. Donating can be as
easy as asking your employer to deduct a specific amount from each
payroll check, or dropping off a one-time donation at the United Way
office. The address for the office is 120 N. McLean St. in Lincoln,
or envelopes can be mailed to the United Way at P.O. Box 684,
Lincoln IL 62656.
"With the federal shutdown and current financial condition of the
state of Illinois, it is obvious we cannot depend on either level of
government," Blair said. "The agencies that receive state and/or
federal funding turn to the community, through the United Way, to
continue meeting the needs of the residents of Logan County."
It is a call for help that she hopes everyone will hear and
respond to. Even the smallest amounts add up in the end.