Remembering 9/11 to Inspire New Stories Today
By Sharon Prather, 2001 Campaign Chair and 2021 Special Gifts Vice Chair
Like all United Way Campaign Chairs, I entered 2001 with both excitement and anticipation. As I toured the Community Partners and visited with those receiving services and those serving, I felt a sense of pride in the Lubbock Community and our care for others. I had been well trained to lead the campaign and felt real responsibility for assuring that the agencies serving so many in our community had the resources to do so. By the time the summer rolled around, we were ready. Volunteer leadership was in place and quite frankly, I was feeling positive. After all, we were working for United Way, an organization that was second to none with the mission of Giving • People • Hope. Business leaders were encouraging in their responses to our meetings with them. People were anxious to help, and the Loaned Executives were incredibly energetic and ready to go.
Then came September 11, 2001. What started out as a regular workday turned into a time none of us will ever forget. In a matter of minutes, the world changed. We watched what we previously would never have imagined - our beloved country being attacked. Tumbling buildings were burning with people desperately trying to escape. There was horror and death in the streets and mass confusion everywhere. It was like our lives were turned upside down, and we prayed for our country and loved ones.
As time went on and we realized what had happened, questions began to fill our minds. With all of this, what was going to happen as the United States began to assess the terror? What was going to happen in our community? What was Lubbock Area United Way's role?
That is where this story turns bright and miraculous. Under the capable leadership of United Way staff and through the positive attitude of a multitude of volunteers, the 2001 campaign was a huge success! We started with a goal of $4,257,997, but our generous supporters far surpassed it, giving $4,369,437! There are many reasons for that success, but the bottom line is that West Texans care for one another. Even though our country had suffered a great tragedy, people were willing to help their neighbors. It was an important story for us to write in the midst of such tragedy.
There are many reasons for that success, but the bottom line is that West Texans care for one another. Even though our country had suffered a great tragedy, people were willing to help their neighbors.
As I reflect on 2001 today, there are many similarities with 2021. Many stories have been written in the last year and a half - stories of hope. We experienced a terrible pandemic with many lives lost and our lives have changed due to the ongoing ramifications of COVID. We "shut down" during 2020 meaning many were left without work or decreased wages. We are seeing strife in our country and in other countries throughout the world. Throughout it all, United Way and its Community Partners have continued to serve the needs of people across the South Plains.
Still, community needs are greater than ever. Yet, I could not be more positive or enthusiastic about United Way and the impact your gifts to the campaign make. There is outstanding leadership and passionate, dedicated volunteers ready to work for their community and the people in it.
The goal of $5,882,846 has been set. Now, we can make this the most successful campaign ever! Please join us in inspiring new stories every day.