The sounds of marching boots and singing echoed across Rock Island Arsenal Oct. 8, as Soldiers and civilian employees of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command took to the streets to show support for the 2008 Combined Federal Campaign.

In an effort to show that support, CFC co-chair, Cathy Merritt, and a host of Soldiers from the ASC put their heads together and, quite literally, their boots on the ground and started planning.

"The command has been sponsoring a walk for a few years now," said Merritt. "It has become kind of a tradition."

The march brings a new dimension to the tradition, mixing Soldiers and civilians to bring awareness of CFC, not only to those they work with, but to the Arsenal as a whole.

"When you add the police escort and sound of the cadence call to the amount of awareness prior to the event, everyone on the island could see that ASC supports the CFC," she said.

CFC is the annual fund-raising drive conducted by federal, postal and military employees in their workplaces each fall. It is the only authorized fund-raising campaign for charities permitted in the federal and postal workplaces.

The ASC does not pin its support for the charity drive on a set dollar amount, but on getting the word out to all employees and letting them decide for themselves whether to participate.

"Our goal is not a dollar amount," said Merritt, "it's 100 percent contact with the command's Soldiers and civilians."

Employees may give a one-time cash contribution or choose to give through payroll deduction. They may select as many charities as they wish and divide their contribution among those charities any way they choose. All of the money donated, except for the small 5.9 percent administrative cost, averaged over the past three years, goes directly to the charities employees select on their pledge forms.

According to Merritt, this concept of 100 percent contact, versus setting a monetary goal, results in contributors giving more than is expected.

Merritt said ASC will continue its CFC through the end of November, and though the ASC cadence and march is over and done, everyone still has an opportunity to give.

"During the campaign, donation boots will be out every week at different locations throughout the command," she said. "The campaign is still very active."

The boots are pairs of military issue boots set out to enable immediate cash donations, in lieu of the usual payroll deduction method. The money collected is then distributed among participating CFC charities.

The Illowa Bi-State CFC covers all federal, postal and military employees in the 24-county area of: Boone, Carroll, Henry, Jo Daviess, Knox, Lee, Mercer, Ogle, Rock Island, Stephenson, Winnebago and Whiteside counties in Illinois; and Allamakee, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Des Moines, Dubuque, Henry, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine and Scott in Iowa. These employees gave $625,199 to local, national and international charities through the Illowa Bi-State CFC in 2007. More than 46 percent of that amount was designated to Quad Cities area charities. The goal for the 2008 campaign has been set at $650,000.