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Cochran: Unsung heroes of United Way partners make amazing difference

July 15, 2019 | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

By Glenn Cochran

I often have people say to me things like “I wouldn’t have your job for anything,” or “I don’t know how you can ask people to give money.” Actually, asking folks to help support the work of Lubbock Area United Way and our partners is not difficult at all.

Many years ago, my friend J. C. Chambers was conducting a training for a group of United Way volunteers and he talked about what he termed call reluctance. He told us that he sometimes struggled with call reluctance in his own business because he was asking a customer to buy something that ultimately provided his own compensation. Yet, when it came to asking people to give to United Way, he never hesitated because it was benefiting someone else and the entire community. Since that day, I’ve never had call reluctance.

The difficult part of United Way’s work is done by the professionals and volunteers who work with our Community Partners. I’ve said it many times, but it bears repeating here. Those who work and volunteer for the nonprofit organizations your United Way contributions support are the unsung heroes of our community. They are my heroes.

Most people probably don’t think a lot about how difficult this work can be, but I do. My job is a piece of cake compared to what these heroes do day in and day out and often for many, many years. It is work that I could never do. Here are a few examples to think about.

I think of Mary at the Children’s Advocacy Center who has conducted thousands of forensic interviews of children who have been abused - many in unspeakable ways. She hears firsthand the ugly details of things that most of us cannot even imagine. She does it out of love for the children and to be part of a system that ultimately finds justice for these precious ones who have been horribly wronged.

I think of Vickie at the Early Learning Centers who spent many years teaching 4-year-old children how to learn and become successful in school later in their lives. I saw the profound impact she had on my own grandson and how her work is now leading to his success in school. I don’t know about you, but that is work that I am not capable of doing. She has been a hero to hundreds of children.

I think about the well-trained volunteer from Voice of Hope who is willing to go to the hospital in the middle of the night, at a moment’s notice, to help a victim of sexual assault get through what is probably the worst moments of her or his life. I think of Brad who shows up in the Red Cross response vehicle at countless home and apartment fires and helps people who have lost everything make it through the coming difficult days.

There are many others I could tell you about. These folks deserve our very best. They are the unsung heroes of our community who are usually underpaid or do it simply out of the goodness of their hearts.

We can all do our very best for them and those they serve by supporting this amazing movement we call United Way. It provides the infrastructure of critical funding for 23 organizations in our community that all work to serve those who need a helping hand. That is why I never have call reluctance.

When you have the opportunity, I hope you’ll help Lubbock Area United Way keep helping others with your generosity.

Glenn Cochran is President and CEO of Lubbock Area United Way.

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