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September 23--  Leaders of the United Way of Toombs, Montgomery and Wheeler counties hoped local donors will get "Hooked on the United Way" to the tune of at least $450,000 dollars.

{mosimage}This year's campaign kicked off Thursday with a lunch at the Vidalia First Baptist Church with keynote speaker Sonny Dixon of Savannah's WTOC-TV who urged "selflessness" vice "selfishness" during hard economic times.  He donned the campaign's "Hooked" T-Shirt before leaving the stage.

{mosimage}United Way Executive Director Patricia Dixon with campaign co-chairs Amy Sowell and Garrett Wilcox.

The campaign has already collected about a third of its goal through special events and the contributions of Pacemaker organizations.

The United Way golf tournament raised $11,250; the Sweet Onion Celebrity Bike Ride garned $2,500; Sam Page from Hawks Point Golf Course turned in a $4,500 charitable contribution from the LPGA Futures Tour tournament; Leadership Toombs-Montgomery alumni turned in $2,000 from a charity concert-dance; Soothing Sensations raised $1,900 with massages; the Power of the Purse raised $6,000 with the local Dancing with the Starsw; and Vidalia Ford raised $2,800.

Pacesetter contributions include employee donations of $50,000 from Plant Hatch, $30,300 from Dot Foods, $19,500 from Tumi, $10,000 from Vidalia City Schools and $6,000 from Mount Vernon Bank employees.