AWAYSIS Fundraising Campaign Co-Chairs Robert Ohrlund and Gary Lalone have announced that the final push is on to complete the fundraising campaign.
"We have had a terrific response from the community to date," Ohrlund said. "The finish line is in sight. We are almost there. For all those folks who have been planning to make a donation or pledge but just haven't gotten it done, now is the time. We need everyone to make a commitment to help this project be as successful as possible."
"Some people doubted that we could raise $2 million, but we will," added Lalone. "In fact, we plan to exceed that total. We want to get all the loose ends tied up by Dec. 15. To those who have not yet made their commitment, please take five minutes right now to fill out your Letter of Intent form or your brick order form."
Project Manager Mike Wilson cited concerns about potential building cost increases due to the massive amount of rebuilding needed in the wake of three major hurricanes, and said it is extremely important to maximize the fundraising effort and exceed the $2-million goal if possible.
Campaign leaders pointed out that engraved commemorative bricks available for a minimum $500 donation continue to draw attention in Storm Lake and beyond.
For example, former Hy-Vee Manager Dennis Hartogh and his wife Diane recently donated that amount and ordered a brick for the project, even though they now live in Dubuque and were not directly solicited by the committee. In an E-mail to local AWAYSIS leaders, they wrote:
"We lived in Storm Lake for 10 years and it is a city we call 'home'. Storm Lake is very dear to our hearts, as are so many friends there. Project AWAYSIS is truly a blessing for the city and county. Storm Lake is so fortunate to have so many wonderful, dedicated citizens who continue to give and support their community."
Renea Seagren of Fonda is another out-of-town resident who approached committee members on her own to make a donation for an engraved brick.
"I have lived in the area and worked in Storm Lake for many years and feel that this is certainly a project which deserves support from everybody," she said. Seagren is executive director of United Community Health Center in Storm Lake.
Forms which describe the engraved brick project are available at City Hall. The bricks will be placed in a donor recognition area at the AWAYSIS site toward the conclusion of the construction phase.
"We're still accepting donations for bricks up until the time we put them in," Lalone said.
Lalone recognized the efforts of fundraising volunteers including Sue and Tom Fitzpatrick, Leadership; Ken and Jolene Davis, Pacesetters; Grace Ivey and Tim Pierce, Major Gifts; Craig Fratzke and Dick Hakes, Community Division; and Honorary Chairs Jack Spooner, Wayne Forbes, and John Dvergsten.
Lalone also thanked the over 130 volunteers who have helped in fundraising efforts to date, and the more than 400 contributors.
"We are really excited to be at where we're at in the campaign," Lalone said. "We're just really excited by the involvement of people and the generosity and support of the project. I think it just shows the strength of the project with everybody behind it."
The bricks will be placed in a location yet to be determined, possibly in the playground, Great Lawn, or beach area, Lalone said.
Ohrlund was quick to point out that the fundraising job certainly isn't finished yet.
"We certainly encourage everybody in the community to be a part," Ohrlund said. "We're certainly pleased at the success we've had. Everyone should be contributing because the swimming pool is going to be a tremendous asset to the community."
"Overall, we're pleased because we're close to reaching our goal but we need more people to go over the top," Ohrlund said, pointing out that more than the original $2 planned from private fundraising must be raised to keep pace with the impact of inflation on construction materials.
"Everybody should be supporting the project," Ohrlund said. "If they haven't done anything, now's the time to do it."
Those needing additional information on the campaign can contact Ohrlund at 732-2457, Lalone at 732-3780, or Storm Lake City Hall at 732-8000