A cool breeze and a slight drizzle failed to dampen the spirit of this year's United Way campaign kick-off event, a mini-parade that attracted more than 200 marchers Tuesday evening.
The parade featured Fireman Jay in his Lil' Squirt mini-fire engine and a float constructed and donated by employees of US West Communications. They were followed by the marchers who carried banners representing the 58 United Way agencies from Salt Lake and south Davis counties.It was definitely a participation event. Several who had come to watch the parade found themselves in the event, carrying banners and waving to the 15 or so onlookers who remained on the sidelines. And, once around the block-long parade route (South Temple between Third West and Fourth West) wasn't enough for the hardy marchers - they made two circuits before retiring and feasting on hot dogs and soft drinks.
The parade featured a cross section of Salt Lake lifestyles. There where the executives from major corporations, clients served by the various agencies, volunteers from such groups as the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association (complete with their "Diabetes Busters" costumes).
Two Special Olympics medalists marched as did a wheelchair-bound child from Project Turn. The parade also featured mothers, fathers, children and even some grandparents, all there to support agencies that use public donations for the good of those less fortunate.
Campaign chairman Ross E. Kendell, president and chief operating officer of Key Bank, praised those attending and announced the campaign goal of $5,031,195 set for this year's effort. This is an 11.8 percent increase over the 1987 effort which collected more than $4.5 million. Kendell said the campaign will run through Nov. 15.
Some 16 local companies have loaned 20 executives to the United Way for the next 12 weeks, said Kendell. These executives will work with some 120 campaign leaders selected by local businesses to work with their employees.
Kendell said pre-kickoff contributions have already generated $187,000. This is a 22 percent increase over last year's start.