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Winter Jam fund-raiser puts United Way at goal

By Lacy Hilliard
The United Way has reached the grand finale of their 2014 fundraising campaign and with it they have achieved 100% of their goal. Just as last year, The United Way organized the Winter Jam, which took place at Heritage Hall on Saturday, February 22. Several regional bands performed impressive sets and auctions were held in between in an effort to raise money for the worthy cause.
The United Way supports more organizations throughout Johnson County than any other. The organizations United Way supports includes the Northeast Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross, the A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition, Johnson County Safe Haven, Johnson County Senior Center, Legal Aid of Johnson County, Mountain City/Johnson County Community Center, UT/TSU Extension 4-H, Johnson County Cancer Support Center and Laurel, Trade, Neva, Butler, Doe Valley, and Shady Valley Fire Departments.
Several bands took the Heritage Hall stage at the 2014 Winter Jam, each donating their time in support of United Way. First to perform was Turkey Tracks Trio. Comprised of Mary Mays, Jennifer Gillenwater, and Linda Miller; Turkey Tracks Trio never fails to capture the attention of an audience with haunting harmonies and Gillenwaters lyrics filled with Johnson County folklore. Up next was Surefire. Surefire is made up of Tom Isaacs, Robby Norris, John Bryan, and Tim Norris. The mandolin styling’s of Robby Norris never fail to amaze nor did the perfect vocal harmonies of Tom Isaacs and John Bryan and their Winter Jam performance was no exception. Though Surefire no longer plays together regularly, they easily fell back into old habits. Both Robby Norris and Tom Isaacs are also members of the next band to take the Heritage Hall stage; Carolina Crossing. Members Gary Trivette, Curtis Main, Tyler Thompson, Dennis Issacs, Tom Isaacs, Robby Norris join together to create a force to be reckoned with. Carolina Crossing is well known in the region and always commands attention with their dynamic chemistry and driving rhythms. Following Carolina Crossing was Forge Creek. Amazingly, Forge Creek has just two members. Guitarists and vocalists Steve Dunfee and Steve Grange take on not only traditional country and gospel tunes, but also appeal to a wider audience by introducing classic rock and oldies into the mix. Laurel Creek Trail followed Forge Creek. This is Laurel Creek Trail’s second year performing to benefit the Johnson County United Way. Laurel Creek Trail is made up of Mike Taylor, Buddy Morefield, Dan Isaacs, and Chris McElraft. As is expected of Laurel Creek Trail, the group secured a place amongst the technically elite with each member exhibiting practiced precision and musicianship. The final band to take the stage was Slice of Bluegrass. Comprised of Jack Proffitt, Bob Mink, Quint Reece, and Barry Reece; Slice of Bluegrass is a Johnson County favorite. Bringing to the stage not only their signature bluegrass but also a heft y dose of personality, Slice of Bluegrass never hesitates to donate their time to a good cause.
Several items were up for auction at the 2014 United Way Winter Jam and all were made possible by generous donations. There were 21 lots up for and they offered a bit of something for every taste and budget. Big-ticket items included 4 passes to Tweetsie Railroad, an autographed photo of Peyton Manning, as well as tickets to various Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge attractions including Dollywood. A total of $3,000 was raised at the event, topping off the United Ways $35,000 fundraising goal.
The United Way Board of Directors is made up of Frank Arnold, Flora Bellamy, Priscilla Davis, Judy McGuire, Tom Neaves, Ruth Ann Osborne, Kathy Poole, Kim Pope, Temple Reece, Caroline Roark, RoseEdda Slemp, Bobbie Smith, Leni Smith and Norma Sutherland. The board gave special thanks to all the agencies and donors that make the United Way possible, the Town of Mountain City, Heritage Hall, and Wanda Payne and Celia Pennington. If you’d like to learn more about Untied Way, visit www.liveunited.com.