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Fundraising goal set at $100,000

By AMANDA HARRISON

Staff writer

The king and queen candidates for United Way of Calvert County Mardi Gras gathered at the United Way House in Prince Frederick on Nov. 7 for the campaign’s kickoff.

“There’s a lot of passion in this room,” said Kelly Chambers, president and CEO of UWCC, during the kickoff event. “There are a lot of businesses out there who want to support you. ... I hope you all have a great, great time,” she said to the five candidates.

This year’s Mardi Gras fundraising goal is $100,000, Chambers said. The money will benefit education, financial stability and health programs in the county, as per the United Way’s community impact agenda.

Candidates for queen are Shelby Potts, the executive director of Southern Maryland College Access Network, a United Way partner agency, and Beverly Brown, the director of sales and marketing at the Hilton Garden Inn in Solomons.

Potts, of Huntingtown, explained that as a member of a partner agency, she feels the direct effects of United Way.

She said that as a candidate, she wants to “lend support to help increase” the effects of United Way and highlight “how many souls it touches.”

Brown, of Lexington Park, explained that when she moved from St. Mary’s County to a Calvert business, she wanted to be “embedded enough in the community” to run for Mardi Gras Queen within five years.

“I’m jumping out of my skin,” she said of her excitement for the campaign. March will mark the beginning of her fourth year in the county, she said, “so I’m a little bit ahead of schedule.”

The three candidates for king are James Piatt of Lusby, the senior reactor operator trainee at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant; Dave McDowell of Prince Frederick, the patrol bureau commander for the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office; and Clif Bridegum, the founder and owner of Your Digital Salesman.

Piatt said he wants to create a better relationship between United Way and the plant by getting the plant more involved in the community.

“I am truly humbled,” said McDowell of being able to participate in Mardi Gras. “I’m definitely on board 100 percent,” he said as he joked that his boss ordered him to run for Mardi Gras king.

Bridegum said that although he’s never done anything with UWCC, he is looking forward to the campaign.

He explained that he was “recruited” for Mardi Gras by Lori Norton, a UWCC board member, and Jennifer Moreland, UWCC director of community impact.

This year’s theme, “Swingin’ at the Juke Joint,” is based on the juke joints and blues halls of New Orleans circa the early 1900s, a UWCC news release states.

The campaign will culminate March 2, 2013, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center and Marina in Solomons for the crowning of the new king and queen.

The crowning is determined by which king and queen candidate raises the most votes. Votes, which count as each $1 donation, are raised through special events, letter writing campaigns, sponsorships and social media appeals, the release explains.

Links to candidate events and donation pages, and Mardi Gras sponsor packages, can be found at www.unitedwaymardigras.com, or by calling 410-286-0100.