By Rebecca Hertz

Fort Hood Herald

KILLEEN - Hundreds of supporters attended the United Way of the Greater Fort Hood Area's 2009 campaign kickoff Thursday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

"Our national theme this year is 'Live United.' Many of you may recognize that from last year, but our local theme is 'United We Stand,'" announced Dale Koebnick, president of the local United Way.

This year's fundraising goal is $650,000. The organization fell slightly short of its goal last year.

"We didn't make our goal last year - what does that mean?" Dave Hall asked. "It means a need goes unfulfilled in our community. It means that someone who desperately needed help may not have gotten it."

Rather than appointing one campaign chairperson for the drive, United Way formed a leadership task force, composed of Ann Farris, Dave Hall, Tiffany Hamden and Sherry Hoffpauir.

The only group to occupy the triple platinum position in the Pacesetter campaign was H-E-B Grocery Stores, which already has contributed $86,000 to this year's drive. The city of Killeen, H-E-B Harker Heights and H-E-B Killeen/Trimmier Road have reached the platinum designation for contributing $25,000 and above.

Mary Erwin-Barr, executive director of Communities In Schools, suggested that if an individual gave up one glass of tea or one soda a day five days a week, the person could save about $250 each year. If everyone did that, the amount could make a big difference in the community, she said.

"The community affects all of us, so to help one child helps us all," Erwin-Barr said.

About $160,000 has already been collected in the Pacesetters advance division toward the $650,000 goal, campaign coordinator Don Ledsworth said.

The United Way campaign runs through Nov. 1. A celebration luncheon will take place in February to recognize and thank donors.

Contact Rebecca Hertz at or (254) 501-7469.

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