By Matt Combs
May 2, 2018 - The United Way of Southern West Virginia kicked off its 2018 fundraiser campaign in a big way Tuesday, receiving $10,000 gift from Highland Machinery in Oak Hill.
That gift will go toward a fundraising goal of $860,000 to help fund 40 different non-profits throughout southern West Virginia that work in health education and financial stability.
Founded in 1988, Highland Machinery manufactures underground mining equipment, including shuttle cars, scoops and feeders which are shipped to mining operations around the world.
Bill McClanahan, the president of Highland, said he is just happy the company is able to afford to provide the donation.
"It's important for each and every one of us to do what we can to try to give back to our communities, give back to our people that are in need because there's always going to be people in need," McClanahan.
The company president personally knows struggle, growing up the son of a coal miner.
McClanahan said that growing up, times were good when his father was working, adding that in those days, miner's often went on strike and times got tough.
"When you do grow up and you look back on things like that. it does mean a lot to you to help out the people in the communities," McClanahan said.
The need to give was evident in McClanahan's behavior before his company made its donation.
Originally planning to donate $5,000, McClanahan doubled the amount.
"I just thank the Lord that He's blessed us in such a way that we have something to give back to people," the company president said.
McClanahan said he is also thankful for the local United Way and other charitable organizations that work so hard to help out people in need.
"People struggle from natural disasters, fires, floods, all these different things," McClanahan said. "But sometimes people just fall on hard times too and it's good to know there's somebody there that you can reach out to that's willing to help you."
According to United Way Executive Director Michelle Rotellini, the contribution made by Highland is the first of the season and Rotellini said she was excited to kick off the drive with a bang.
"It's challenging sometimes to raise that money because we don't live in a large metropolitan area," Rotellini said. "We don't have big corporations or factories; a lot of our businesses are related to the coal industry and as most folks know, that's a business that's been declining in the area."
Rotellini said it is nice to see a local company doing well while also thinking about their community.
"It means so much to children and families who are struggling throughout southern West Virginia," Rotellini said. "We're just so pleased to kick off our campaign season with this big check."
While a lot of folks can't afford to make a donation, Rotellini said there are many ways individuals can help the United Way.
The organization will host a Derby Day fundraiser Saturday at The Resort at Glade Springs, with the $125 ticket price going directly into the fundraising campaign.
Rotellini also said that donations can be made at the organization's website at www.unitedwayswv.org or dropped off at its Beckley office.
Pictured are Bill McClanahan, president of Highland Machinery, Michelle Rotellini, executive director of the United Way of Southern West Virginia, Nancy Kissinger, co-chair of the United Way campaign, and Donnie Holcomb, chair of the United Way campaign.
Photo by Chris Jackson, The Register-Herald
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