A Comfy Gathering
By Rich McManus
On the Front Page...
"It's almost more fun to hold [the kickoff] up here, where we can get together and get to know one another a little bit," said CFC-ballcapped host Flavin.
"NIH now has overall responsibility for the entire HHS campaign," he noted, adding that Cheryl Seamon of NIH's Office of Administration was chosen to coordinate the departmental effort. Last year, HHS contributed $2.25 million of a total $36 million federal CFC collection.
Here on campus, the National Center for Research Resources is this year's lead ICD in an annual charity campaign for which some 2,500 nonprofit agencies are eligible. NCRR director Dr. Judy Vaitukaitis reminded the crowd that NIH'ers need only recall as far back as last winter, when federal furloughs and snowy weather shut down the government and threw many into financial straits, to be reminded how close all of us are to needing a helping hand.
"It went beyond personal inconvenience," she said. "Many were worried about when the next paycheck was coming. What if we had to worry about our next meal? What if there was a shutdown of hope?" she asked, playing on the CFC theme "Help Hope Take Shape."
"We must make sure that such a shutdown never occurs," she declared.
Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis
Vaitukaitis is contributing not only her center's managerial might to the effort, but also the skill of artist Margaret Georgeann, late of NCRR's Medical Arts and Photography Branch (she recently launched her own business), who designed special posters and t-shirts for the campaign that were unveiled at the kickoff. The artwork will be submitted to a government-wide contest to determine which agency best promoted the CFC.
"I think it's going to win," quipped Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, NIH deputy director, who called upon the crowd to remember its long tradition of generous giving and welcomed the honor of leading the charge for all of HHS. "It's a mission we take seriously," she remarked. "With your help there will be plenty of hope on hand."
Kirschstein urged NIH'ers to take a few moments and consider that their donations help other federal workers, some close by. Fitting that description was Chloupek, an energetic administrator (see NIH Record, Mar. 12, 1996, p. 1) who recently participated in the Paralympic Games that followed the Olympics in Atlanta, helped bear the Olympic torch during its 15,000-mile journey from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and who coaches baseball after work at Potomac's Churchill High School. A wheelchair athlete who competed for the United States in seated volleyball at the Paralympics -- but whose team did not medal -- Chloupek enumerated CFC-related help at important junctures in his life: funding for the Paralympics and training sites and equipment came from CFC sources, and for the past 7 years, Chloupek has been associated with Special Love, Inc., which sponsors Camp Fantastic for children with cancer each summer.
"The Combined Federal Campaign has personally touched my heart and given me hope to pursue some of my goals that I did not even think possible 28 years ago when I lost my leg to cancer," he said. "But more importantly, it provides assistance to others who are in dire need of hope. Thank you for your love, support, and hope in making someone's dream become a reality."
The kickoff closed with a raffle, whose winners and prizes are as follows: Chuck Sherman -- color TV set (donated by Geico); Nancy Wirth -- DSW Shoe Warehouse gift certificate; Olga Tjurmina -- $25 R&W gift certificate; Jon Retzlaff, Kevin McShane, Theresa Raymer, Joan Eaton -- Cineplex Odeon movie passes.
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