FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Federal employees and service members from around the Midlands gathered last week at the Officers' Club to recognize the contributions to the region's Combined Federal Campaign.

A preliminary tally shows this year?'s campaign fell short of its $1.2 million goal for 2013, bringing in almost $800,000 as of last Friday.

It was a complicated year for everybody involved with the CFC effort, thanks to sequestration, furloughs and the government shutdown, said Ann Marie Stieritz, co-chairperson of this year's United Way of the Midlands community campaign.

"Yet many continued to give so unselfishly, and that's why we're here today -- to thank you very much, and to celebrate that fact," Stieritz said

Col. Stephen Yackley, Fort Jackson's deputy commanding officer, said outside factors created setbacks, but that campaign volunteers stepped up to make the best of a bad situation.

"This has put us back a bit on our canvassing of Fort Jackson," Yackley said. "But, with the committed involvement of our leaders across the post, we were able to reach out and give all of our military and civilian personnel an opportunity to participate. An operation of this size is no simple task and takes hundreds of volunteers. I would like to thank everyone who contributed their time and talents to the campaign on the fort."

This year, Fort Jackson command stressed the importance of educating new Soldiers on the importance of CFC efforts. The campaign theme was "Serving our country, supporting our community," which was an apt sentiment for those attending last week?'s CFC event, said Dean Cousins, CFC co-chairman.

"(As) I look across the room here today, I see a lot of men and women who have indeed stepped up and served our country as members of our armed forces and our civilian federal agencies," Cousin said. "The dollars that we raised also show a real commitment to support our community."

Established by a Presidential Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the CFC is the largest workplace charity campaign in the United States and the only campaign authorized to solicit and collect contributions from federal employees in the workplace on behalf of charitable organizations.

Nationally, more than 200 CFC organizations raise nearly $300 million from the federal community each year. The funds are used to support more than 25,000 local, national and international charities.

Nearly four million federal employees and military personnel are able to contribute to the charities of their choice during the charity drive, which runs until the middle of December. Pledges made by federal civilian, postal, and military donors during the campaign season support nonprofit organizations around the world.

"Our mission was simple, and that was to ask 100 percent of the local federal workforce to demonstrate their commitment to our community," Cousins said. "For those of you here at Fort Jackson, it's about teaching those young Soldiers, and it's about giving something back to an organization larger than themselves -- something like the CFC and its participating charities."