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United Way kicks off campaign Sept. 2

Ben Utecht and his pal Goldy Gopher will visit Hastings next week. Utecht, the former Hastings Raider, University of Minnesota Gopher, and professional football player will help kick off the United Way of Hastings' annual campaign at the Hastings Raiders' home football game Friday, Sept. 2, at Todd Field.

The United Way's campaign kick-off has been associated with the first Raider home football game for years, and this year is no exception.

Utecht, a member of the Colts' 2006 Super Bowl champion team, is retired from football and has launched his recording career with the release of his new CD and is getting ready for a holiday tour later this year. He will be available for autographs.

"We are so excited to once again kick off our campaign at the Raiders' first home football game," said United Way of Hastings Executive Director Tara Donohue Weiss. "Some of our excitement is due to our very own Hastings native Ben Utecht coming back to join us in the festivities, as well as sing the National Anthem."

Utecht was a three-sport athlete and also excelled in music while a student at Hastings High School. After graduating from Hastings High School, Utecht pursued college football at the University of Minnesota. The Indianapolis Colts drafted him. During his years with the Colts he won a Super Bowl ring.

His career is now music. He will have advance copies of his new CD at the Sept. 2 kickoff.

Goldy Gopher will be available for photographs, too. Sponsoring Goldy's visit to Hastings are Green Mill, Gordy's Premier Auto Glass, James Langenfeld Construction, Mike Slavik of Keystone Realty, Power Within Chiropractic, Premium Electric Services and Schommer Insurance.

The events for the evening begin at 5:30 p.m. with a tailgate party. Food and beverages will be available, as will autographs and photographs with Utecht and Goldy; United Way of Hastings on-field presentation; and the National Anthem sung by Utecht. The game begins at 7 p.m.

The United Way of Hastings is based in Hastings and supports and helps people in this community, which it has been doing since 1964. It works to build partnerships to improve the lives of people in the community.

Agencies served and supported by the United Way of Hastings include 360 Communities (formerly Community Action Council), the Boy Scouts, Courage Center, DARTS, Hastings Family Service, Hastings Middle School Special Friends, Hastings Police Department Crime Prevention Unit, Hastings Area YMCA, Hastings Area Senior Center, Lifeworks Services, OASIS and ProAct. The money raised here stays here.

For more information about the United Way of Hastings, visit www.unitedway