FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Despite a sluggish economy, Midlands residents continued to have a charitable spirit, donating more than $1.14 million to hundreds of charities through the 2010 Midlands Area Combined Federal Campaign.

"We had a good year," said Maj. Gen. James Milano, post commanding general, as he recognized Fort Jackson leaders, service members, civilian employees and local community representatives for their contributions to the Midlands Area CFC efforts during the 2010 Victory Celebration luncheon Monday at the Officers' Club.

"It was a tremendous outpouring of generosity and I thank you all for your support," Milano said. "I'm grateful to be among you and I'm honored to have all of you here."

Nine South Carolina counties comprise the Midlands area, to include Richland, Lexington, Sumter, Fairfield, Kershaw, Calhoun, Clarendon, Lee, Newberry and Orangeburg.

During the annual fundraising drive, which ran from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15, both military and civilian federal employees contributed to non-profit organizations throughout the Midlands, as well as national and international charities.

Each donor selected charities of his or her choice, and elected to either make a one-time donation or have a set amount deducted from each pay period. Donations could be as little as $1.

"Though the Midlands area federal donors were fewer in numbers than in years past, they actually contributed more per donor," said Joe Pinner, local TV personality, who emceed the luncheon.

"The Social Security Administration, for example, had 99 percent participation, up nearly 30 percent from last year, with an average per capita giving rate at $232 per donor," Pinner said. "Now that is really amazing."

Employees of Shaw Air Force Base donated $190,475 - a 25 percent, or $34,995 increase, from last year's donations - making this year's campaign the largest in the base's history, he said.
Four Midlands agencies - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Attorney's Office, Columbia Veteran's Affairs Regional Office, and the Dorn VA Medical Center - received top honors and were awarded the Eagle Award based on total dollars raised, an increase in giving, employee per capita giving, and the percent of employee participation. The four agencies combined donated nearly $169,000 to charities through the campaign.

The 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment was the largest contributing unit at Fort Jackson, and was one of 17 units honored with a Merit Award for double-digit percentage increases of at least 10 percent in their campaign results.

Fourteen Fort Jackson units were honored with Silver Awards for raising a $40 to $75 per capita gift and 12 Fort Jackson units were honored with Gold Awards for raising a $76 or greater per capita gift.

"The results of our efforts demonstrate to nonprofits across the country our commitment and our generosity and our willingness as federal employees to give, not only of ourselves, but our time, our money and our talents," said Arnold Miller, district manager for the Social Security Administration, who handed out the awards alongside Milano.

"By giving back to the communities in which we live, work and serve, we have touched so many lives."

Keynote speaker Mac Bennett, president and CEO of United Way of the Midlands, specifically thanked service members for their contributions and commended all federal employees for giving so much.

"I know that in the military, you sacrifice more than the rest of us," Bennett said. "But outside of Afghanistan and Iraq and Korea, there are other wars that are waging; some of those right here at home. Those are wars against poverty, illiteracy, racism, inhumane treatment to animals and ... people, hunger, and the list goes on and on. Today we honor every man and woman who has made a financial sacrifice to make our community a little bit better."

Fort Jackson CFC Award Winners:

Gold Awards: units with a total per capital gift in excess of $76:
37th Military Police Detachment
Soldier Support Institute, HHC
Command Group
DRM Mission
3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, Company E
3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, Company E
120th Adjutant General Battalion, Company C
Public Affairs Office

Silver Awards: units with a total per capita gift of $40 to $75:
Installation Chaplains Office
3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, Companies A, D, and F
2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, Companies A, C, D and F
1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, Companies B and F
1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, Companies A and E
2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, Company A
3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, Company C
2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, Company C
3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, Companies A and E
120th Adjutant General Battalion, Company D
187th Ordnance Battalion, Company C