At first glance, the occupations of Virgil Probasco and Bill Martin seem dissimilar.
Probasco, executive vice president for Wireope Works Inc., and Martin, senior vice president at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, fulfill different roles during their daily employment.
One tends to the heavy lifting needs of today's industrial customers; the other instills educational inspiration to meet the needs of future generations.
But when it comes to providing support to improve the lives of Lycoming County residents, both men share a common passion - the Lycoming County United Way and the organization's 2011 fall campaign.
Probasco, the 2011 campaign chairman, and Martin, the campaign vice chairman, are set to lead a team of more than 1,000 volunteers in this year's fund-raising efforts.
Probasco assumes the leadership role following decades of United Way involvement, including last year's service as campaign vice chairman, assisting campaign chairman Jim Campbell.
"The opportunity to spend a year under Jim's tutelage was a big help in preparation for this year's campaign," Probasco stressed. "We were able to institute some new ideas that proved effective and we are building on those successes this year. While last year's campaign was most successful, the human service needs of our Lycoming County residents continue to increase."
According to Probasco,"although the LCUW campaign does not receive government funding, the recent government budget reductions have negatively affected many of the programs funded by our campaign, (and) we want to do what we can to help insure that these vital services will continue to be available for those who desperately need them."
According to Martin, "Lycoming County United Way and the work they do are tremendously important to the quality of life for more than 42,000 county residents who have been helped by United Way funded services in the past year.
"In the coming months we will be educating the public regarding this need, engaging their participation and encouraging their financial support," he said. "This campaign is a grassroots effort of people helping one another right here at home."
Assisting the leadership duo is a 16-member campaign cabinet comprised of volunteers and United Way staff, all determined to reach an identified human service community need of $1,708,168.
Cabinet members include:
Past Campaign Chairman Campbell, Hope Enterprises Inc.
Peter Herdic Society Chair (Leadership Giving) Ronald A. Frick, M&T Bank
Corporate Division John Comerford, Blue Cross of Northeastern PA
County Division Suellen Porter, Susquehanna Bank
Education Division Christina Herman, Loyalsock Township School District
Employee Division Robert Pursell, Jersey Shore Steel Company
Loaned Executive Division Sonja A. Leone, Alcan Cable
Natural Resources Division Marty Muggleton, Larson Design Group
Professional Division Ron Reynolds, Susquehanna Health
Public Service Division Brian J. Toseki, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Williamsport Small Business Division -Chris Plankenhorn, Plankenhorn Stationery Company
Williamsport Residential Division Mary R. Engel, community volunteer
Combine Federal Campaign Rosann Pelleschi, LCUW staff
State Employee Combined Appeal Deb Machamer, LCUW staff
Kate Pacacha, LCUW director of resource development, and Scott N. Lowery, LCUW executive director, provide daily support, logistics and information services to the overall campaign effort.
"We were pleased that last year's campaign raised the most money in our organization's 89-year history ($1,431,455). But even that wonderful effort proved to be $170,000 short of the needs of the 43 human service programs operating under our umbrella," Lowery explained.
"This year's need is even greater," he continued. "There is an old saying that if you want an important job to be achieved, enlist busy, successful people to help get it done. This campaign cabinet is full of successful, busy people from a wide cross section of the county. They all have one thing in common; a passion to help others facing difficult times."
The 2011 Lycoming County United Way officially kicked off Sept. 15 as part of an assembly program at Loyalsock Township High School.
For further information, or to make a contribution, please contact the LCUW office, 1 W. Third St., Suite 208; call 323-9448; or visit lcuw.org.