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Concert rocks Centene and the money rolls in for United Way

The first Rock United concert turned out to be music to the ears of supporters of the United Way of St. Francois County. Ticket sales and donations brought in $8,000 for the organization.

“What a fabulous way to kick off 2012!” said Paula Jackson, president, United Way Board of Directors. “We’ve met our goal for the grants we will give out this year, so this money gives us a big boost toward the grants we will award in 2013. Thank you everyone!”

The concert held Jan. 14 at the Farmington Centene Center was sponsored by Edward Jones Investments and State Sen. Kevin Engler to celebrate Engler’s 25 years with Edward Jones. It featured local favorite GTO with an opening performance by The Baby Boomer Band.

“The evening was a sell-out with about 700 in the seats,” said Engler, “and I think everybody there had a great time and we raised some major dollars for a great cause.”

GTO has pledged $2 to the United Way from the sale through Saturday of every copy of its new CD, “I’ve Got The Music In Me.”

Engler helped start the United Way, organizing a bell-ringing campaign in 1988 to support Farmington food pantries that eventually became the groundwork for United Way. This year, the United Way supports 28 agencies and programs and will award $175,000 in grants.

Tuesday, local agencies will receive grants to help meet the needs of people in the Parkland. That includes six food pantries, four senior centers and agencies that meet specific needs of people. The ceremony will be at 3 p.m. at the North College Center at Mineral Area College. In addition, the board will announce the grand total for fundraising in 2011 and set a goal for 2012.

“An unplanned benefit of the concert was that it filled up local restaurants as people went out to dinner before the concert and then went out again after it was over,” said Engler. “So, it was something that benefited the whole community.”

Engler said he would love to be one of the sponsors next year, so plans are in the works to bring back Rock United in 2013.

To find out more about the United Way, visit its web site  at  or go to Way of St. Francois County.

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