Monthly Archives: July 2014
… check out their web site for the schedule of art classes offered…
… or stop in for coffee or, as I did, a bottled Coke…
Where do you work & what do you do? I’m Executive Director of United Way of Transylvania County.
How exactly does Transylvania County United Way help in our community? Simply put, it boils down to this….We advance the common good by creating and supporting programs that empower people in our community to improve their lives. The question that follows, of course, is, “How does United Way TC do that? ”The simple answer is, “We collaborate.” United Way TC defines collaboration as two or more agencies working together to break through one of the “defined barriers to success. …and barriers to success are “gaps in services” or “dysfunctional systems” in a community. By “dysfunctional systems,” I mean systems that deal with symptoms rather than actually addressing the “root cause” of an issue. We take investments of resources—people, agencies, funds, systems, structures—and enable them to work more efficiently to produce higher rates of return for our neighbors here in Transylvania County. United Way TC focuses its efforts on collaboratives that holistically address removing those “barriers to success” in at least one of our three focus areas: education, health, and financial stability. Health, education and financial stability are closely inter-connected issues. In fact, separating issues in these three areas is often a challenge in itself. If there is a barrier to success in any one of those areas, then the other two will be impacted in some way. For example, we support the Connect collaborative, which has used United Way TC donor investments of $43,000 over 18 months to save Transylvania County an estimated $116,280 per year in foster care costs by helping 209 children avoid child protective services involvement. That’s a 170% return on investment… with the most important result of all being the families that remain stable and whole.
How did you first become involved with United Way? After leaving my first career at General Electric and having made the decision to move to Brevard in 1993 for my wife to start a business (leaving me to be Mr. Mom for our 2 daughters then in 7th and 11 grades), I did some business brokering/consulting and even owned a video store in Candler for a few years. I wanted to get more involved in the community since my previous job required so much travel that was really not possible. So when the part time position came available in 1999, I applied and got the then part time job. Then Ecusta, then AGFA, then Coates American, then other businesses who represented over 2/3 of our donations closed within the next 2 years. That led to the need for a full-time position since it takes a lot more time to connect with 3000 individuals than it did going to three employers to make the same connections. I’ve stayed involved for 15 years now because the organization has been willing to change; to get more focused in creating sustainable improvements in the conditions of our citizens from bringing 2-1-1 help-line to the county to the creation of TRAIN (Transylvania Resource, Access & Information Network) and the Get Connected volunteer website. Creating these efforts and seeing the positive changes they generate are what energizes me to keep working.
How can all of us best lend support to United Way locally? (money, time, other ways?) Certainly your dollars help us increase the number of citizens who are financially stable, reach their educational potential, and participate in healthier behaviors like the examples mentioned above and below. Volunteer to help UWTC or one of our partners. Most importantly, if you know about our work or know someone who has benefited from our work, share your stories. We feel that more would give if they knew all the special and somewhat unique things we do. Picture below is of me with Stoney Blevins, County DSS director giving a presentation at a United Way Worldwide conference this May about our work in Transylvania County. We were the only UW our size invited to give a workshop.
Do you have any good stories of how United Way has helped people?
1) The Hopewell* sisters of Transylvania County are all smiles about report cards since they enrolled in a school-based behavior incentive plan. The collaborative ‘Connect’ helped make it all possible. Mr. and Mrs. Hopewell* have health issues that make parenting a challenge, and as a result, their two daughters have been placed in foster care more than once. The family was referred to Connect to help prevent another foster care placement. When the school system suggested a behavioral incentive program to help the girls learn positive coping skills, Mr. and Mrs. Hopewell were hesitant. Thanks to the positive relationships the Hopewells enjoyed with the Connect Outreach Coordinator, they agreed to try the program…and thanks to their parent’s support of the program, the girls are experiencing improved social and academic successes at school.
*name changed to protect privacy
2) Brevard native Opal Golding* reviews information about area resources. She selects what best meets her needs with help from the collaborative ‘TRAIN.’ Opal Golding* is a lifelong resident of Brevard. When she needed help, there was a whole team available to her… Opal was referred to TRAIN (Transylvania Resource Access and Information Network), a network of health and human service agencies serving Transylvania County. Making valuable connections outside the scope of crisis assistance ultimately led Opal to evaluate options regarding her health. TRAIN network agencies collectively helped Opal make the decision to move into a skilled nursing facility. Her stress level is down, and her safety is up!
*name changed to protect privacy
3) Transylvania County resident Phratasia Macon uses the skills she learned in “10 Hidden Rules of Successful Money Management,” a free class offered by the collaborative ‘Families & Money.’ Brevard parent Phratasia Macon needed help making ends meet on her limited income, so she attend “Ten Hidden Rules of Successful Money Management,” a free financial education class offered by Families & Money. “I’m here to learn how to budget and manage my money more…I’m on a fixed income…” explained Phratasia. Using action statements to develop and reach goals that are “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) was one of the class topics. Phratasia plans to share her new skills with her biological children and her foster children, to give them a head start on their financial education.
How do you spend your free time (what are your hobbies)?
Hiking in these beautiful surroundings, reading thrillers & Sci Fi, listening to or watching music, movies and sports events (college basketball, and college & pro football). I attend my Va Tech alma mater home football games. My recurring adventure is section hiking the Appalachian Trail; my hiking buddy and I have now completed about 1,400 of the 2184 miles of the trail over the last 15 or so years. Pic is of me at the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail.
Click below to read more of Steve’s profile Continue reading
… mark your calendars for the July 25th Gallery Walk… St. Philip’s Episcopal Church at 256 East Main is hosting an “Art of the Mountains Art Show” sale & raffle from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. There will be music and refreshments and the art will include painting, sculpture, and ceramics. The one day art show will also feature a raffle of five works of art from noted local artists. All proceeds from the event will support the ministries of St. Philip’s, including many local charities…
Flying High: Memoir of a 30-Year Adventure
Flying High is a personal memoir of high adventure, love, humor, physical danger and intrigue in exotic locations. Whether flying the high altitude U-2 spy plane, meeting Communist guerillas in the hills of Luzon, narrowly avoiding a fatal bullet in Argentina, or nearly being deported from a diplomatic post twice, the author is continually blessed with good fortune and fortuitous circumstances. Far from being a tedious recitation of war stories from the author’s 30-year Air Force career, this memoir is an intriguing report on a broad variety of exciting life experiences, accompanied and supported by the woman who has been the author’s companion in marriage for over fifty-six years. *Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more.
Where do you work now (what do you do, tell us a bit about your job)… For the past ten years or so, I have worked part time as a sales rep in Brazil for Smith Systems Inc. (SSI), a local manufacturer of precision sensors…selling mostly to the rail industry. I got the job because we used to live in Brazil and have the language, Portuguese. SSI is a terrific, technically-oriented company…even had three critical sensors on NASA’s Space Shuttle. The SSI owners, Bill and Claire Smith, are wonderful people and their story is “the great American story” of success. My other “jobs” are doing odd maintenance jobs and layreading at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church here in Brevard.
What is something people will be surprised to learn about you from your book… I cannot think of anything special. I have been incredibly blessed in life.
What is the “most-typical-comment” people make to you after reading the book… “Gee, you sure moved around a lot!” or “Wow, you flew the U-2?”
What do you believe was your most important post (or assignment) during your military career? During the Vietnam War years, after flying the U-2 for several years, I was the single individual at the Strategic Reconnaissance Center responsible for actually planning and managing all of the worldwide U-2 operational missions outside the U.S.
What was your most dangerous assignment? Excluding obvious dangerous aspects of flying the U-2, there were some dangerous aspects of being the Defense Attache in the Republic of the Philippines during the turbulent final years of the Marcos Regime (1981-1984). Two weeks after we departed, a U.S. Army officer who had a similar job to mine was assassinated in Manila.
What’s the most harrowing experience you have had as a pilot? The closest I ever came to having a fatal accident — in over 6500 hours of flying — was a near midair collision that I had with an F-4 in the traffic pattern at Davis-Monthan AFB. I tell how that happened on Page 113 of the book.
My favorite photo in the book…. The photo called “Family Picture 1967.” The look on Annie’s face is priceless!
Items on my “bucket list”…. Take a trip back to the Azores Islands with wife, Ann, to revisit Lajes AFB, through which I passed many times when I was a second lieutenant and bachelor. Haven’t been there in over 50 years! We both speak Portuguese now, so it should be a blast.
My hobbies…. reading historical novels, counted cross stitch, hiking. I especially enjoy reading the same book in both English and Portuguese. I have read all of the Harry Potter series, Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, Mark Owen’s No Easy Day and many others in that way.
Favorite thing about living in Brevard… Feeling the calm and permanence of the stunningly beautiful surrounding mountains. On a more personal note, I love and value the incredible diversity of folks here….everything from “NC good old boys” who can fix anything, to retired college professors, senior military officers and captains of industry.
Popular hit songs from my youth….Tell Me Why…Rose, Rose, I Love You….
Favorite singer or group… Nat King Cole….Billie Eckstein….Sinatra….Bing Crosby
What songs take you back to high school years? Nat King Cole….They Try to Tell Us We’re Too Young…Red Sails in the Sunset
What inspires you today? The incredible hardship of prolonged and repetitive family separations being endured by members of the U.S. Armed Forces in recent years.
My first job ever…. Aside from cutting lawns and an early paper route with the Miami Herald, my first real job all through high school was working nights in a letterpress print shop, Parker Art, in Coral Gables, FL. I spent hours cutting metal “leads” and “slugs” for the composing room…it is a miracle that I didn’t lose any fingers!
Best practical joke played I’ve played on someone… In south Florida, a favorite trick when quite young was to stealthily and slowly crawl at night up to a screened porch (preferably occupied!), attach a bent pin (with a thread attached) to the screen, and then slowly “pay out” the thread (still attached to the pin) until you were well away from the porch, back in the shadows. Then, holding the thread taut, we would wet our thumb and forefingers and gently “pinching” the thread, move our fingers back and forth…the result was an incredible “screeching” sound that resounded throughout the screened porch. The occupants, of course, could see nothing and were completely mystified. We have even played that trick as adults!
Read more of Duke’s profile by clicking below…
Be – open til 9pm
D.D. Bullwinkles – open tip 9pm
Hunters Gatherers – open til 9pm
Local Color – open til 9pm
Locals – open til 9pm
Love’s Jewelry & Gifts – open tip 8pm
Main Street Limited – open til 8pm
Moose Tracks – open til 9pm
O.P. Taylor’s – open til 9pm
Pink Flamingo – open til 8pm
Rocky’s Soda Shop – open til 9pm
Southern Comfort Records – open til 8pm
Sports Spot – open til 8pm
Theophilus – open til 9pm
Underground Salvage – open til 8pm
White Squirrel Shop – open til 8pm
… the view of tonight’s fireworks finale… ;-)