GM's Cami assembly reveals largest total yet

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

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They shot, they scored and they set a record for the largest United Way campaign reveal at General Motors' Cami Assembly plant with more than $573,000 in contributions this year.

The Cami United Way reveal Friday morning, Dec. 12 at the Ingersoll plant was set around a hockey theme and it was the jerseys that told the tale of the tally. Campaign volunteers Lori Stanley, Denise Vyse and Sue McCallum wore the numbers 57, 38 and 55 to reveal this year's total $573,855 collected from salary and hourly workers at the assembly plant. The funds were collected for the United Way of Oxford and the United Way of London and Middlesex.

McCallum said the hockey theme came about as a way to include everyone in the plant by holding a lottery for hockey tickets or merchandise. The committee wrote to the Toronto Maple Leafs asking for prize donations to help generate contributions and was asked to submit a compelling story as to why the Cami campaign should be considered.

It was Unifor Local 88 plant chair Mike VanBoekel's promise to dye his hair blue and wear a Leafs' jersey if the plant set a new internal record that scored the committee game tickets and other prizes.

“It's absolutely fantastic how our workers come out (to support the community),” VanBoekel said before donning a Leafs' jersey and sitting down to have his hair dyed by his wife, Jennifer, and daughter Hannah, during the reveal event.

“When they're called upon, they'll help out where they live and where they work,” plant manager Les Bogar said of the team at Cami.

“The heart of any community are plants such as Cami,” said London and Middlesex campaign chair Brad Duncan, chief of London Police. “We are making major inroads in our community as a result of what we're doing with United Way.”

That sentiment was echoed by London and Middlesex United Way CEO Andrew Lockie who thanked everyone at Cami for being such an important part of strengthening the community with their donation to the campaign, which funds dozens of groups and programs.

Oxford United Way Executive Director Kelly Gilson said Cami has developed a culture of generosity and care over the 26 years its been in the community.

“People here truly believe they can help others in the community, and they show it,” she said.

Oxford campaign co-chair Chris Friesen agreed, and said the work involved in the annual United Way fundraising campaign may look like a well-oiled machine after all these years, but it's still hard work to maintain and accomplish each year.

More than 50 partner agencies between Oxford and London-Middlesex benefit from funds raised through United Way each year. The total Cami contribution will be distributed between the two offices based on employee location. ​

It was a team effort at GM's Cami assembly plant in Ingersoll that saw the highest-ever United Way fundraising reveal Friday, Dec. 12. The 2014 total for the United Way campaigns in Oxford and London and Middlesex totalled $573,855 and was revealed at a hockey-themed event. From left are Unifor Local 88 plant chair Mike VanBoekel, salary co-chair Lori Stanley, senior hourly co-chair Tim Hicks in Don Cherry outfit, sponsored employee Denise Vyse, junior hourly co-chair Sue McCallum, Unifor Local 88 president Dan Borthwick and Cami plant manager Les Bogar. JENNIFER VANDERMEER/INGERSOLL TIMES/QMI AGENCY

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