BNSF Railway responds to personal stories and information with a great fundraising campaign

BNSF employee Leadership Givers (giving $500 or more to United Way) received a specially-designed t-shirt from BNSF

BNSF Railway has raised $43,286 for the 2011-12 United Way campaign, a significant rise from last year’s generous $14,860.

(Note: Representatives from BNSF Railway recently presented a check for an additional $12,000 to United Way from the BNSF Foundation. You can read more about this here.)

Two of the more moving moments during BNSF Railway’s fundraising drive came from stories that a retired BNSF Railway employee and one of United Way’s Loaned Executives shared during the campaign.

Newton Brown, retired Director of Administration for BNSF Railway, shared a personal story of how gifts to  United Way have helped him and his wife provide care for their son, Jason.

Newton Brown

“My wife and I have a son, Jason, with developmental disabilities and he requires 24-hour care,” Brown told his fellow employees. “It demanded a lot of my time. Even though my job was secure, I could not be with my son as often as I wanted. A lot of the responsibility for Jason’s care fell to my wife and our other sons. It was a true labor of love, but as any caregiver knows, it can be exhausting.”

Brown said his family relocated to Memphis in the 1990s. Brown also talked about his wife, Jacqueline,  taught their son to walk for the first time.

“We had the ability to enhance Jason’s quality of life thanks to help from United Way funded organizations,” Brown added. “United Way’s network really helped our family. Every year I worked, I really challenged myself to increase the United Way donation from my paycheck. I truly believe in the United Way. You never know what situation life may hand you.”

Adrienne Foster

United Way Loaned Executive Adrienne Foster provided support to the BNSF Railway campaign and shared a personal account of how a United Way agency helped her and her mother. That experience inspired her to become a United Way volunteer so she could approach others on behalf of the organization that helped her so much when she was younger.

“You hear presentations like mine and think you will never need assistance,” she remarked. “I used to think that way too, until I was 15 when my mother had a massive heart attack and suffered brain damage.”

Foster said that despite her age, she was forced to “become an adult” and share the 24-hour responsibility of caring for her mother with her grandmother.

Thanks to programs that are funded by United Way, eventually Foster was able to attend college while receiving assistance for her mother.

United Way thanks BNSF for its support of United Way, both at the corporate and employee level, for many years. BNSF employees who served as key leaders for this year’s drive include Sara Hoskin, Maude Eddings, Jasper Dowdy Sr, Ann Dowdy and Michael Kutscher.

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