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United Way officials thank community for efforts

 

GADSDEN TIMES | ERIC T. WRIGHT
Lou Lacey, who received United Way services when she was a victim of a violent crime while a student at Auburn University, speaks Wednesday at the United Way of Etowah County's annual meeting to recognize 2008 Leadership Givers, agencies, board of directors and contributors.

 

By Kenneth A. Hobson Jr.
Times Staff Writer

 

Published: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 7:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 7:24 p.m.

 

You may save someone's life by just lending a helping hand or a smile.

 

And the United Way of Etowah County knows that firsthand.

 

At the organization's annual meeting Wednesday, officials thanked the community for its efforts and rewarded community members on their contributions.

 

Lou Lacey of the Children's Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services in Birmingham was the guest speaker. She said the United Way deserves a "thank you" from everyone as well.

 

Since 1982, Lacey has been looking for a way to repay the organization for its kindness during her time of trouble.

 

She was a victim of a violent crime while attending Auburn University and that was the first time she encountered the United Way.

 

"When I entered the hospital, the first person I encountered was a United Way volunteer who was so helpful," Lacey said. "She offered so much words of wisdom and encouragement to me during that time in my life."

 

During this episode, Lacey found her calling of advocacy and charity.

 

At that point. she re-evaluated her life and took a direction that would become an inspiration to many others, simply because someone inspired her.

 

"It is more important to measure ourselves during times that are difficult," Lacey said.

 

Since her Auburn days, Lacey has been searching for the United Way volunteer who changed her life, but has not found that person.

 

As a result of her encounter with the volunteer, Lacey has become active with the United Way as a volunteer counselor, professional staff member and Loaned Executive.

 

She currently serves as the director of the CHIPS Center, an outpatient treatment program for child abuse victims at Children's Hospital of Alabama.

 

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