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Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson is introduced as one of the United Way campaign co-chairs at the United Way Kickoff at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center last Wednesday in Waterloo.

The Cedar Valley United Way has a formidable trio of campaign co-chairs this season, and they’re as gung-ho as it gets.

Dan Trelka, Jeff Olson and Tony Thompson want to break some records during this upcoming campaign. Even though the standard to beat over the past decade has been $3 million, they’re shooting for $4 million.

If it can be done, these three will make it happen. Of course, that has to come with a lot of community involvement.

Olson is Cedar Falls chief of police, Trelka is Waterloo chief of police and Thompson is the Black Hawk County sheriff.

“In law enforcement, you see a lot of people in need,” Olson said. “When we get together, there’s a lot we can do for those in need.”

Trelka said he has seen United Way’s impact up close and personal as a foster dad.

“There are so many services and programs in United Way that assist (foster) children, and services offered to biological parents to help with reunification,” he said. “I’m proud to be part of this community, but there is more to be done.”

Earlier last month, Thompson said he values United Way because “they are diligent in their efforts to both evaluate the root cause of issues and champion results-oriented programs and processes that have an important impact on those issues.”

For six consecutive years, the Cedar Valley United Way Campaign broke through the $3 million mark before dipping slightly below that over the last two campaigns.

At last week’s Rally in the Valley, the annual kickoff for the campaign, board chairman and KWWL General Manager Jim McKernan addressed those in attendance.

“We need everyone’s help to do this,” he said. “This is, dollar for dollar, as good a donation as you’ll make in your life in terms of community investment.”

We agree with that assessment.

The funds collected through these campaigns have great significance to our local communities. The United Way distributes grant funding to nonprofit community organizations. Among the services those organizations provide are after-school and child care programs, disaster relief services, elderly transportation, community meals, help for victims of domestic violence and help for families struggling to make ends meet.

Campaign chairs and other volunteers deserve our gratitude. This is a massive commitment of time and energy on behalf of our communities. And we all know these three particular co-chairs are already busy people with the best interests of residents in the Cedar Valley at heart.

For them, we’re sure the reward also is large, considering the type of meaningful assistance leveraged through these campaigns for the betterment of individual lives, families and the community at large.

That’s something we can all keep in mind when donation forms come around -- or any opportunity to give to this next campaign arises.

Let’s help these guys break some records.

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