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United Way of Hastings promotes pancakes, literacy and 'Heroes'

Enjoy some pancakes, listen to one of Hastings' firefighters read a book, and learn about the newest United Way of Hastings campaign initiative when the annual United Way literacy event is held from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Green Mill Restaurant, 909 Vermillion St.

The newest campaign initiative is a locally-produced "Hastings Heroes" calendar. People in the Hastings community were selected to participate and be the monthly "Heroes." Some are well-known, some are not.

The idea for the calendar came from several discussions with individuals involved with the United Way of Hastings.

"We wanted to support the United Way of Hastings annual fundraising campaign by offering a fun way to collaborate with many individuals in the community as well as highlight people who make a difference in other's lives," said United Way Executive Director Tara Donohue Weiss. "Local photographers and everyday people who give back each day were asked to be fun and be creative. All photographers and heroes donated their time and creativity to the calendar.

"Once people understood the humor we wanted to invoke, all in good taste, everyone was on board to get involved," said Weiss.

The heroes range from high profile elected officials to community protectors to the "unsung" heroes that many people may not recognize.

"We thought having a little friendly competition such as choosing a favorite month would be a great way to involve more people," said Weiss. "Photographers quickly responded at the opportunity to showcase their talents. Those who participated are Mac McGoon, Dan Rother, Victoria's V Gallery, Hoffbeck Photography, Gunnar Cook and Denny Beck."

They have photographed people in humorous poses with props and have used Hastings landmarks when possible.

The calendars are being printed at Graphic Design in Hastings. They are $20 each and will have their premier showing Oct. 9 at the pancake breakfast. All proceeds will go into the United Way of Hastings' general fund. Residents can vote online for their favorite month and the winning month will be announced Dec. 17.

One of the books in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a literacy program the United Way has supported for a number of years, was sent to the United Way office earlier this year. The board decided the book, "Firefighters to the Rescue," would be the one read at the Oct. 9 literacy events in observance of both Fire Prevention Week and Month. They asked Hastings firefighters to be part of the reading group.

The breakfast is $6, free for children younger than 3. The firefighters will bring a truck to the event, too.

The United Way of Hastings began its annual campaign at the Sept. 3 football game. The campaign runs through December. Funds raised during the year through workplace payroll deductions and individual donations are then allocated to various agencies in the Hastings area.

More information about the United Way of Hastings is available at www.unitedwayof