THIS YEAR'S GOAL: $110,000
LAST YEAR'S GOAL: $105,000
Outstanding Corporate Support Award: Great Dane Trailers
Outstanding Employee Support Award: Great Dane Trailers
Gold Award: Northview High School
Silver Award: North Clay Middle School
Bronze Award: Forest Park Elementary
Approximately two years ago, Bruce Rosselli strapped on his helmet and raced around a course for the last time. A bobsled driver, he led his team around sharp, slick curves at over 100 miles an hour, climbing out of the sled cheering as it came to a halt.
It was the Winter Olympic Games, and security was tight. Knowing it was his last race, however, he talked his way through a barrage of security guards to reach NBC headquarters, where he talked to a producer about getting a tape of his performance.
"I told him this was the last run in a bobsled of my career," he said. "Finally he said 'Sure, I can get that for you.'"
Now that he's off the course, Rosselli does a number of things, primarily involving his work with Eli Lilly and his restaurant, Rosselli's, located in Terre Haute. On other occasions he speaks, like he did at Thursday's United Way Kickoff.
After a lunch and announcements of programs and officers, United Way Treasurer George Long announced the UW's fiscal goal for the year: $110,000. This figure is up $5,000 from last year's.
"The $110,000 is our promise," Long said.
Clay County United Way's money is used to support a variety of programs within and outside of the county, including the Clay County Emergency Food Pantry, Covered Bridge Girl Scout Council, 4-H Council, and Well Child clinic.
President Todd Pierce then took the stand to introduce Rosselli to the crowd.
"He shows his character through his Christian walk of life," Pierce said. A 1999 2-man champion award driver, among other titles, Rosselli said the key to success is setting what he called "internal goals."
"Whatever the publicly announced goal is, aim higher," he said. "You want to be constantly raising that bar for yourself."
To prove his point, the olympian said the first time he tried bobsledding, he didn't particularly care for it. His driver had only driven the course they were on six times prior, and his first time around the track left him with a large gash in his arm.
"I didn't want anyone to know I'd been hurt, so I kept going," he said. Later that day he was in the hospital "getting stitched up."
Though he didn't want to, he kept trying and soon he tried driving a bobsled instead of riding in one. Instantly he was hooked.
"Anything is possible if we set our minds to it and we pray for it," he said.
Rosselli applied that same ethic to his work with United Way, setting internal goals and achieving more than his superiors thought was possible. When his work with UW began, he was given a list of "accounts," or donors to the program, he needed to speak with.
He persuaded a number of his clients to up their donations to United Way, showing them how they benefited from agencies UW supported.
"They've all been touched by agencies like yours," he said. "What you put into the community helps people get their jobs, spend money in the community, and keep those jobs."
Through his perserverance, several clients doubled their contributions as well as those clients' employees. In the end, he came out $100,000 over his publicly announced goal.
Rosselli has other goals for the future. He said three countries have asked him to coach bobsled teams in the 2006 Winter Games.
Even without the athletic accomplishments, however, Rosselli has a strong track record. He told the crowd they were the same way.
"What you're doing is sometimes not rewarded, but people know what you're doing," he said.
United Way Agencies:
Area 7 on Aging & Disabled
American Red Cross, Wabash Valley Chapter
Big Brother/Big sister
Boy Scouts of America, Crossroads of America Council
Clay County Children's Medical Assistance
Clay Community Parks Association
Clay County Emergency Food Pantry
Clay County Christmas Assistance Program
Clay County Cooperative Benevolence Ministry
Clay County Sheriff's Reserve
Council on Domestic Abuse
Covered Bridge Girl Scout Council
Family Services Association
Food Pantry of Southern Clay County
Habitat for Humanity
Little Creek Special Equestrians
Search & Rescue
Senior Citizens Center
Well Child Clinic
YMCA of Clay County