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United Way kicks off campaign with Day of Caring

By Paul Huggins · 340-2395

United Launch Alliance has a new name, but its employees have the same commitment to the United Way’s Day of Caring.

The former Boeing Co. rocket plant in Decatur, which became ULA last December, has adopted 20 of the event’s 83 projects, which help United Way’s 32 agencies.

That’s three more than last year, and people continue to sign up, said Brad Oglesby, ULA quality systems specialist and the company’s United Way coordinator.

ULA is a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

And there’s still time for any individual or group to adopt one of the 28 remaining projects, such as giving a hot dog party for the Boys and Girls Club or painting rooms at Hope Place.

The event, which coincides with the kickoff of the annual United Way fundraiser, is Tuesday. It will start at 7 a.m. with a breakfast at Solutia’s picnic pavilion.

Projects can be adopted as late as Monday.

Oglesby said it doesn’t take long to get a response. He sent a mass e-mail to ULA employees Wednesday morning, asking them to meet at 1 p.m. to review the list of projects.

They quickly adopted 20, such as remodeling a room for the Alabama Head Injury Foundation and building home wheelchair ramps for the disabled.

Oglesby figures between 40 and 50 employees will participate in hands-on projects and there’s no telling how many will participate in supply drives. ULA will collect personal care items for the Salvation Army as one of eight supply drives.

“That’s a good thing,” Oglesby said. “People don’t necessarily have to miss work, but while they’re out pick up something here or there and help out one of these organizations as well.”

Like many of the participating industries, such as Copeland, Solutia, Hyosung and General Electric, ULA benefits from Day of Caring because the projects provide effective team-building exercises.

Many of the ULA volunteers are repeats from last year, Oglesby said, and it’s easy to get people involved once they’ve seen first-hand how their efforts improve the lives of their neighbors. He added that one volunteer had a son who benefited from the Alabama Head Injury Foundation.

“If you can make it personal for that individual, it makes them want to be involved more,” he said.

The event has already surpassed the 45 projects adopted last year that involved about 500 volunteers.

To receive a complete list of available projects, call the Volunteer Center of Morgan County at 355-8628.

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