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Darling has big plans for United Way of Stephens County

DUNCAN, Okla._The new United Way executive director is ready to hit the ground running and he’s hoping to raise $350,000 in this year's United Way campaign.

Ed Darling recently retired as editor and publisher of the Duncan Banner and slipped into his new role Monday. He says there isn't a moment to waste if the organization wants to achieve the lofty goal. He says citizens across Stephens County are depending on them, and that's why they're already planning this year's events later this month.

The organization is partnered up with 15 different agencies from northern to southern Stephens County, who are always in need of help. Darling says he's eager to see what the United Way of Stephens County will help those organizations achieve.

Darling has been a part of the Duncan community for several years, and jumped at the opportunity to make a difference after retiring from the city's paper.

"I wanted to find something where I could make my contribution and I really think that the United Way may be a perfect opportunity for me to do just that," Darling said.

Darling says it is a wonderful sight to see people helping out one another. And all he wants is to help citizens from the community he loves.

"Whether it's dealing with senior citizen’s activities or things of that nature, we are very personable in what we try to accomplish and we want to reflect the spirit in the activity and thrill of just loving our town," Darling said.

Darling says each year, they never know what needs might come up within the community, but he ensures that the United Way is eager to help.

"Our job is to be flexible and our job is to be ready to make that help wherever we can offer it for our people," Darling said. "We've had a good organization for several years, we have a long steep history in giving back when we were the community chest decades and decades ago."

This year's campaign, titled "United we can," is something Darling hopes citizens will take to heart.

"Our goal is to personify and humanize this particular campaign, we want people to know we are helping people," Darling said.

A talent competition, "United Way Follies," will kick off the organization's first fundraising event of the year. It will be held Saturday, August 29, at the Duncan Golf and Tennis Club. Tickets will cost $10 and the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Darling says the event will be able to seat about 200 people. He says those spots will fill up fast. You can purchase tickets at the United Way at 12 S 8th St, Suite #9, in Duncan.

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