"I am very proud to announce that we (Schuylkill United Way) have exceeded our original goal of $1,002,013 by over $62,000," said Jeff Bowe, 2013 Tamaqua Campaign chairperson, Schuylkill United Way. "As a community, we raised $1,065,000 or 106 percent of our goal, which tops last year's campaign and makes the 2013 "United To Make A Difference" Campaign the highest grossing Schuylkill United Way campaign to date."

The Tamaqua area campaign also exceeded its goal, rising to $158,000 or 155 percent of the goal.

These announcements were made during a recent appreciation breakfast held at the Penn State Schuylkill Campus in Schuylkill Haven, held to honor those who contributed to the 2013 Campaign. Organizers said the main purpose of the breakfast was to announce how much the campaign raised, recognize outstanding individuals dedicated to the United Way, award prizes, and to thank those who contributed their funds and efforts to make the campaign a success.

"At this time of year and always, it is important to focus on how fortunate we are to live and work in a strong community that is willing to provide help to those who need it the most," added Bowe.

The prestigious Houser Award was presented to Wegmans Retail Service Center for the fourth time in a row. The Houser Award recognizes the company with the highest contribution and Wegmans generously gave $106,820.

The Special Events Award was given to Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. for the third consecutive time, recognizing its gift of $25,667.50, which was raised solely through special events.

The Pacesetters of the Schuylkill United Way were also highly recognized at the breakfast. Pacesetters are those individuals who give $500 or more to the campaign each year. The Top 5 companies with the most Pacesetters were Bob Weaver GM Chrysler with 37, Wegmans Retail Service Center with 28, Wal-Mart DC 7030 with 26, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. with 18, and PPL Electric Utilities with 17. The company with the highest percentage of Pacesetters was Bob Weaver GM Chrysler with 51 percent of the employees giving at the Pacesetter level. The company with the biggest increase in Pacesetters was Bob Weaver GM Chrysler with eight new Pacesetters.

The Billie Payne Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to attorney Joseph "Jay" H. Jones Jr., of Williamson, Friedberg, and Jones Law Firm; and Robert E. Weaver, of Bob Weaver GM Chrysler for their commitment and dedication to the Schuylkill United Way. Organizers stated that both Weaver and Jones were highly instrumental in the Pacesetters Club, which raised over $345,000 for the Schuylkill United Way this year.

Retiring board members Charles Dodson, Ed Kleiffman and Mike Tobash were also recognized for their dedication to the Schuylkill United Way. In addition, Kris Verba, 2013 Campaign chairperson, and Bowe were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the 2013 campaign.

"When I was asked to be part of the Schuylkill United Way board, I was honored," said Bowe. "But when they asked me to be Tamaqua Campaign chairperson, I knew I had an opportunity to make a difference. I had given to the Schuylkill United Way for many years, never realizing where my money goes or who it affects until this year. I had the privilege of visiting some of our 15 partnering agencies, and each agency I visited hit home a little more."

Not only did attendees enjoy breakfast, but many were eligible for donated prizes, which included a 2013 Ford Fiesta and gift certificates for Boyer's Food Markets, Wal-Mart, Lowe's and AAA.

During the breakfast, speakers spoke about the Schuylkill United Way's dedication to providing funding, guidance and encouragement to 15 human service agencies in Schuylkill County that provide a wide variety of programs and services to residents of the community. The number of Schuylkill County residents helped by these agencies is now over 115,000, compared to 88,500 during the last survey done in 2010.

Bowe continued by saying, "Thank you to all of the community members who generously gave their time, energy, support, and dollars toward this year's campaign. It would be impossible for us to do our job without people like you to help us along the way. Thank you for supporting us, so we can support others."

For more information or to get involved, go to www.schuylkillunitedway.org [2].

"At the Schuylkill United Way, we know that every little bit counts. We are humbled by the dedicated support we receive each year and look forward to continuing our goal of making a difference for a stronger community, while providing better opportunities for all," ended Bowe.