Patricia Whitten had been living in Moffat County for two days when her house burned to the ground.
She, her sister and their combined seven children lost everything. The family wasn't insured.
Through Moffat County United Way and the Red Cross, the family was able to get help and find resources it needed.
"We didn't even have to ask, they just took it out of our hands," Whitten said. "All the people United Way gives to were there doing their part. If they hadn't been there, I don't know what we would've done."
Nine years later, the memory of her experience led Whitten to contribute $100 a month to the United Way.
"If I could do more, I would, but I have four children," Whitten said.
Her husband, who has a broken back, is temporarily unable to work.
Whitten recently began working at Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab, which matches employee contributions dollar for dollar.
"This is the first time I've had the opportunity to contribute at my workplace," Whitten said.
Moffat County United Way kicked off its 2006 campaign Sept. 19 with a goal of raising $375,000. United Way Director Corrie Scott said contributions such as Whitten's are helping the organization meet its biggest goal.
"So far it's looking great," Scott said. "Everyone has turned in numbers that are up."
Trapper Mine has raised 98 percent of its $55,000 goal. The company and its employees contributed $46,436 last year. This year's campaign pacesetter, the Craig Daily Press, netted nearly $13,000, over $9,000 higher than its 2005 contribution.
Scott still is waiting to hear from several donors, but said she thinks United Way is on pace to collect between $350,000 and $380,000.
United Way's 21-member board administers the money to area nonprofits, including Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, the Independent Life Center, Interfaith Food Bank, American Red Cross and Moffat County Habitat for Humanity.
Last year, the United Way received $384,000 in funding requests. Scott said she expects the funding requests to be higher in 2006.
The campaign ends Nov. 18. Scott expects to have campaign totals by the year's end.
That total will include the $2,400 that Whitten contributed after her employer's match.
"United Way was one of the reasons we decided to stick our roots here and raise our kids here," she said. "If you'd actually ever had them assist you, you'd give back, too."
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or email@example.com.