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GREENSBORO, N.C. – There’s hardly a letup in raffles, car washes and golf tournaments being held this fall by Carolina credit unions with fund raising hitting $600,000 to benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C. run by the Petty family of NASCAR fame and Hollywood actor Paul Newman. For more than a year now the North and South Carolina Leagues – along with CEOs and their marketing departments at CUs in the two states – have been mightily pushing the charity campaign to demonstrate civic goodwill and “social responsibility,” a fact that has not gone unnoticed by local media. “To be identified with NASCAR is always a winner down here and then it’s a double whammy to help out sick kids,” said one North Carolina CEO commenting on the $500,000 CU campaign which in June built two cabins on premises of the camp which benefits chronically ill youngsters. Doubling the $500,000 already handed over to the camp, last month the two leagues through the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation pledged another $500,000 over 18 months to build another cabin plus other facilities including a climbing wall, archery range and two “medical lodge bungalows” at $50,000 each. “We’re pleased that we reached that $500,000 in less than 18 months and we’re now at $600,000 on to our next $500,000 goal,” declared Steve Elam, executive director of the Carolinas Foundation. Already open on the Randleman site are two cabins-one the Rockingham Cabin named after the North Carolina League and the other the Darlington Cabin – named for the South Carolina League. Scores of CU executives from the two states have toured the facilities – some several times – to check on progress of the cabins with work getting underway on a “spiritual center” also financed by the foundation, honoring retired North Carolina League CEO Larry Johnson and his wife. In August, racing legend Richard Petty in a letter formally thanked Carolina CUs for their “tireless and generous support” of the camp maintaining the family is “humbled by the generosity of the foundation” in creating “magical memories” for the youngsters, many afflicted with cancer. The camp is patterned after the “Hole in the Wall” facility set up years ago by Paul Newman in Hartford, Conn., but the North Carolina land is donated by the Petty family in honor of Adam Petty, son of Kyle and Pattie Petty, who was killed in a racing accident. The camp is designed to “enrich the lives of children with chronic or life threatening illnesses by creating camping experiences that are memorable, exciting, fun and medically sound.” Elam said he visits Randleman “about once a month though it’s only a 10-15 mile ride from here” and on the camp site he has lunch with the youngsters and staff also taking part in family reunions on the weekends. Like others, he said he always comes away inspired by the good work done at Victory Junction and is elated that Carolina CUs still are eager to donate. “We’re thrilled to be participating in such a wonderful project,” said James McDaniel, president of Carolina Trust FCU in Myrtle Beach, S.C. which in the first round of fund raising raffled off a bass boat collecting $20,000 and this month is selling chances to employees and members for a $5,000 big screen TV. On Oct. 24-26 CUNA Mutual Group will be hosting what it calls a “unique” Charlotte golf tournament which is a first for the two leagues since CUs from the two states will compete in matched play. The foundation said it hopes to raise $30,000 from the Carolinas Cup Golf Championship to be held at the posh Ballantyne Resort. One problem which might hold down the turnout: a scheduling snafu. The tournament is being held on the same week as CUNA’s Future Forum in Honolulu. Tournament planners apparently overlooked the national date while concentrating on Carolina events. “We have 60 golfers signed up so far and I suppose we might have added a few more,” lamented John R. Slack Jr. CUNA Mutual’s division vice president-relationship management. But Elam said CU travel from the Carolinas and the East Coast to Hawaii may be light anyway considering the length of the trip and potential plane hassles. Apart from the $295 fee for the three-day event, CUNA Mutual said it is hoping to raise donations from vendor “sponsor” packages which go from $500 to $5,000. In addition to meals, the $5,000 Eagle sponsorship includes complimentary shirts, “goodie” bags, cup team sponsor logo on uniforms plus “recognition during pre-tournament announcements.” Credit unions bringing in “five or more SEGs or local community sponsors will receive special recognition and complimentary apparel,” said tournament fliers. [email protected]

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