United Way campaign successful

The one-day approach to collecting pledges is likely to become an annual event.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- United Way of Mercer County raised $127,552 on Blitz Day, the last official day of its 2001 fund drive.
Jim Micsky, executive director, said teams made up of 30 volunteers canvassed the commercial districts in the Shenango Valley and Mercer Friday morning, gathering pledges and getting promises of new ones as the United Way works to reach its $1.1 million campaign goal.
"We've laid the groundwork for something that will become an annual event," Micsky said shortly before noon as he sat in the Blitz Day trailer headquarters in Hermitage Square Plaza.
Making a direct face-to-face appeal to people "is a step in the right direction," he said, adding that it's much better than just mailing them a pledge card or calling them on the telephone.
Good responses: The solicitors seemed to have a good time and generally got a good response, he said.
One of them, John "Chip" Mastrian, CPA, of Black, Bashor and Porsch of Sharon, spent part of the morning stopping at businesses with Sister Clare Marie Beichner, director of the Prince of Peace Center in Farrell.
"We did well," Mastrian said. "I picked up five $1,000 gifts."
Mastrian said a $16,000 gift from the O'Brien Foundation for this year's fund drive has been matched by the Strimbu Foundation and the United Way is now approaching other local foundations asking them to make a similar match.
Although the official drive is over, there's a lot of cleanup work to be done, Micsky said, explaining that a number of large industrial employee campaigns are still under way, and final numbers from those efforts and other solicitations won't be known for weeks.
Current pledge totals are approaching $700,000, he said.