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November 29--  The United Way of Toombs, Montgomery and Wheeler Counties exceeded its goal this year by nearly $50,000.

At the campaign's victory luncheon Thursday, some big donations by area companies pushed the total raised to $596,229.38, well beyond the goal of $550,000.

Trane employees and the company raised $146,000, Plant Hatch donated $85,000 and Tumi turned in $20,000, according to United Way Executive Director Patricia Dixon, "We had a lot of our big industries which did their campaigns late so they came in late, but they came in big.  I really appreciate all the work they did and their employees for giving the United Way and supporting the community in doing that.  We'll probably get some more money in before we do the allocations and we're just so blessed, God has truly blessed us."

This year's campaign chairman Thomas Bowers said, "Thank you to everyone who has put in the effort this year.  It takes a lot of people to get this going and to raise that kind of money for the agencies around here."

The United Way provides funding to 23 community service agencies.  Paul Underwood has been on the board for 17 years, "This really helps our community.  We've got a lot of people who are in need and the United Way is a great way to make certain those needs are met.  Just because we may have a better time, doesn't mean everybody does.  The United Way fills that gap and makes sure people get what they need."