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United Way celebrates 20 years in Sturgis

September 21, 2018

STURGIS — For 20 years, United Way has partnered with Sturgis to connect residents to nonprofit agencies and programs that better their health, education, and financial stability.

Volunteers celebrated that milestone on Thursday with the annual Day of Caring and Campaign Kickoff luncheon. Following the luncheon, teams tackled service projects across the community.

United Way of the Black Hills works with 21 nonprofits in Sturgis and hopes to raise $105,000 in Sturgis during this year’s campaign. Similar campaigns were held throughout Northern Hills communities.

United Way Executive Director Jamie Toennies thanked those on hand for the support of United Way, saying that because of their donations and involvement, families in the community have a pathway out of poverty with the tools and resources they need to be financially secure.

Funds raised help ensure that the Sturgis nonprofits have the resources they need to transform the lives of those in need, Toennies said.

“I hope you will help us again this year as we strive to do even more,” she said.

This year’s co-chairs of the Sturgis United Way Fund Drive are David Hersrud and Paul Bisson. Toennies said the two men were instrumental in getting the United Way started in Sturgis 20 years ago.

Bisson said the turnout Thursday was a testament to the commitment of the Sturgis community to great causes such as the United Way.

Bisson said he and his wife, Mary, researched the community of Sturgis before they moved to town 27 years ago.

“We not only fell in love with the community, but also fell in love with the people here. No matter what projects we are involved in with this community, they rally behind it,” he said.

Bisson said he was glad he had a few years in the community of Sturgis before Hersrud asked him about coming on board with a United Way.

“If he would have asked me the first year I was here, I may have said ‘no,’ but once I realized the quality of the people here in town and what they were capable of, I couldn’t say, ‘No,’” Bisson said.

Hersrud said he knew that if United Way was going to function in Sturgis, it needed support from the community. He said seeing how the organization has flourish makes him glad that he was a part of it from the beginning.

“Being involved in United Way for the past 20 years is one of the most important things I have ever done,” he said. “The United Way is tremendously important to this community.

For more info on United Way, visit www.unitedwayblackhills.org or call (605) 343-5872.

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