Community members gathered Friday at Riverside Golf Club to celebrate the end of Executive Director Debbie Campbell’s 22-year career with United Way of Lewis County.
Her successor Christian Bruhn started Monday. The evening of Campbell’s party, Bruhn was told he “has some big high heels to fill.”
Campbell’s legacy is one of loving service to the community, which was stated repeatedly by community leaders, United Way board members and friends who spoke at the event.
Almost all the people who took the microphone mentioned United Way’s work during the 2007 flood and subsequent floods. Dusty Breen, field operations chief with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, presented Campbell with a certificate of appreciation and highlighted her role in that effort.
“(The floods) were very difficult times for our county. United Way really stepped up and supported our ongoing mission of getting food supplies out to the community,” Breen said. “We actually had a facility that supplies were coming into from United Way. That we were able to get things out to the community made a huge difference, help people begin to move on from all the devastation that happened.”
Breen also mentioned the sheriff’s office and United Way have been working together for 20 years on the “Shop with a Cop” program, which aims to support at-risk youth.
United Way board member Angie Brown described being out at her grandparents’ house in Dryad just after it had been flooded.
“I got an email saying that Debbie had stepped up and was leading the charge to help us recover. The sense of pride that I felt for being part of an organization like that was so overwhelming,” Brown said.
Among Campbell’s other achievements listed were: signing up half of Lewis County children between ages 0 and 5 to participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, starting United Way’s “30 by 30” program that aims to lift 30% of families out of poverty by 2030 and leading efforts toward creating the United Learning Center.
Campbell has been planning her retirement for several months now. At her party, she mentioned her husband, Dave Campbell, is currently suffering from stage four lung cancer and that she is thankful to be starting this part of her life with him.
“There is truly a love of this community,” Campbell told The Chronicle. “I mean I was born and raised here. It's just such a gift for me to be able to give back through this position and I will continue to be involved because I just care.”
Learn more about United Way of Lewis County at www.lewiscountyuw.com.