‘Bridging’ the valley

The Stillwater Lift Bridge is the site of the Sept. 14 fall United Way fundraising campaign kickoff when about 200 volunteers and board members from United Way of Washington County-East and United Way St. Croix Valley in Hudson will line up and join hands on the bridge sidewalk from the Minnesota to Wisconsin side. (Gazette file photo)

Local United Ways join for campaign kick-off event on Lift Bridge

This is one “border battle” that both sides of the St. Croix River can support.

United Way of Washington County-East in Stillwater and United Way St. Croix Valley in Hudson will team up next month for the fall United Way fundraising campaign kickoff event on the Stillwater Lift Bridge.

“Hands Across the River,” is a photo feature about 200 volunteers in United Way T-shirts joining hands to span the sidewalk across the Lift Bridge from the Minnesota to Wisconsin sides of the river. The event is 10 a.m. Sept. 14.

Volunteers from three area companies — Andersen Corp., Bremer Bank and Xcel Energy — are invited to participate, along with United Way board members and their families. These companies support both United Way groups and are sponsoring this event. They will provide funding to bus volunteers to the bridge, lunch after the photo shoot at Stillwater Junior High School and T-shirts for the participants.

The United Ways are encouraging the companies, along with other groups running campaigns, to hold more events during the official September kickoff month, such as food drives and volunteer activities.

“We are all excited about this opportunity for collaboration between our United Ways and are grateful for the generosity of the sponsors making it possible,” said United Way St. Croix Valley Executive Director John Coughlin.

“This kickoff event is a symbol of our commitment to each other and the communities we serve,” said United Way of Washington County-East Executive Director, Angie Lien. “Our United Ways and the companies participating are dedicated to making communities on both sides of the river better places to live.”

Lien said the idea for the Lift Bridge photo is not new.

“It has (been done before),” she said. “It’s either 24 or 25 years ago.”

Lien said one goal of this year’s kick-off event is to show how the two United Way agencies work with each other to meet the many needs in the St. Croix Valley.

“It’s really an awareness builder for the community. We wanted to come together with St. Croix Valley (United Way). It’s just a close community,” she said.

The two United Ways do a lot of work together on issues of mutual interest and to save money, according to Lien.

“We do a lot of collaborative sharing of resources and staff time,” she said.
For more information, contact Lien at [email protected] or Coughlin at [email protected]

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]