Decisions: United Way encourages the community to help those in need
By Paula Jero
Marshfield Area United Way Executive Director
Decisions. Hard ones, easy ones, routine ones, and life altering ones. We all are making decisions all day every day.
Last February staff member Ashley Winch and I had just finished up a day of our state conference, and we were heading across the capitol square to meet up with family members to grab a bite to eat. It was bitterly cold out, about 5 degrees with a nasty wind chill.
We had considered driving but figured with parking in downtown Madison that we would end up walking about the same number of blocks. Instead we bundled up and stepped out the side door of the hotel. Lying on the sidewalk was a man with no coat on, and near him were a coat and a backpack. Looking halfway down the block, there were people standing there and staring, but no one was stepping forward to help. Ashley and I looked each other, and she said, “What do we do?” Decision time.
She ran back into the hotel for help and to call 911 while I bent down to see if the man was responsive. I was joined by another conference attendee and our friend John, and we quickly figured out that the man had a seizure. We covered him up with his coat and began the long wait as we listened to the wail of the ambulance siren whine its way through the streets.
It is six months later as I write this, but I often think of all the decisions that led us to that point in time. In thinking about it, a lot of the decisions were easy. Where to eat, walk or drive, what time to meet, what door to exit are all pretty straight forward decisions. Then came the big one: help or keep walking and pass him by.
We are soon to be embarking on the United Way campaign for this year, and at first glance whether to give or not seems like a pretty straightforward decision. Many people feel like it is no big deal if they do not give this year, but in fact it is a big decision.
Donations provide local services. Fewer donations equal fewer services. It means less food, housing, mentoring, respite care, counseling, and safety. These things are life-altering for those receiving the service.
When you are faced with the opportunity to give to United Way this year, please do not pass us by. Your community needs you.