Celebrating a world with more birthdays in Columbus, Ga.

UTC Employees Raise 40000 for Muscogee County Relay For Life

On May 17, Pratt & Whitney employees in Columbus, Ga., held a plant-wide celebration in recognition of raising nearly $40,000 for Relay For Life of Muscogee County. 

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Relay For Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, is an overnight event that gives communities across the globe a chance to honor those who have been diagnosed, remember individuals who have passed, and fight back against the disease.  At Relay, teams of people camp out and take turns walking around a track for the duration of the event. 

In their first year participating in this event, nearly 100 employees from the Columbus facility formed eight Relay For Life teams and engaged colleagues and the community in the Relay.  The plant-wide celebration kicked off during lunchtime and included a pizza party, cupcakes, popcorn and a pinewood derby competition.  Celebrations continued for each shift throughout the weekend.

At the celebration ceremony, Tom Bode, General Manager of the Columbus Engine Center, and Pat Regan, General Manager of Georgia Forgings presented Denise Dowdy of the American Cancer Society with an additional $10,000 donation check from United Technologies. This brought the total raised prior to the Relay event to nearly $50,000. 

“As a first year team, we [American Cancer Society] have been overwhelmed with the over-the-top involvement of UTC and Pratt & Whitney,” Dowdy said. “In the history of the Relay For Life of Muscogee County we have never had a first year team come on the scene with such enthusiasm and energy for the fight against cancer. Pratt & Whitney is the epitome of how Relay For Life can bring positive morale to a company and help teach a community how to stay well, get well, find cures and fight back. Thank you for all of the hard work and dedication to the fight against cancer.”

Kenyon Harris, team captain for the Pratt & Whitney Eagles, said he originally got involved in Relay because it sounded like a fun community involvement activity.  Along the way his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and now his reason to Relay is to celebrate more mothers’ days in the future.  Harris and his team raised nearly $8,000 participating in fundraising activities such as chili cook-offs and bake sales.

Doris Thornell, team captain for the Pratt & Whitney G3 Fly By’s, also has a personal connection with cancer after she lost both her mother and sister to the disease.

“Pratt & Whitney’s involvement in Relay For Life brings the community together and creates a bond with other employees,” Thornell said.   Her team took a social approach to their fundraising by participating with friends in pool tournaments and chili cook-offs, among other things.

Steve Guest, a 27-year Pratt & Whitney veteran, originally got involved with Relay to support his wife after her diagnosis in 2003 and was then himself diagnosed last year. 

Friend and colleague, George Harike, formed the Relay team UTC Pratt & Whitney Steve’s Dog Pound, to honor Steve and also to pay homage to Steve’s long-time football team of choice, the Georgia Bulldogs. This was particularly open-minded of Harike, as he is a long-time Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fan, their in-state rival. To date, Steve’s Dog Pound has raised more than $5,000.

“It’s important for Pratt & Whitney to get involved with Relay to support the community,” Guest said. “Employees are very interested in communities where they live and work.”

On Friday, May 18, all eight Pratt & Whitney teams participated in the Relay For Life of Muscogee County at Kinnett Stadium.  The event drew more than 1,200 participants. 

During the Luminaria ceremony, Pratt & Whitney was chosen to carry the lighted torch.  This ceremony is held by candlelight to honor people who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease.

When the closing ceremonies concluded at 7 a.m. Saturday, the Relay For Life of Muscogee County had raised more than $380,000 in large part due to the hard work and generosity of many Pratt & Whitney employees.

“Congratulations to all eight Pratt & Whitney Teams from Columbus,” said Danielle Smith, manager of Community Affairs, UTC. “They are truly working hard to create a world with more birthdays.”

Team Name
UTC Pratt & Whitney TMAK & SIVAK RACERS
UTC Pratt & Whitney Eagles
UTC Pratt & Whitney Soaring For a Cure
UTC Pratt & Whitney Steve’s Dog Pound
UTC Pratt & Whitney All In 
UTC Pratt & Whitney TeSt CeLL ReJeCtS!  
UTC Pratt & Whitney G3         
UTC Pratt and Whitney Fly-By’sRole Models 
Captain
Tana McHale
Kenyon Harris
Orlissa Woods
George Harike
Kenneth Rodriguez
Nelly Arzola
Doris Thornell
Timothy Summers

How it all got started
In 2009 UTC hosted the first annual Relay For Life of East Hartford in the Pratt & Whitney Hangar.  Since then, UTC has partnered with the American Cancer Society Relay For Life as a National Corporate Team Partner and expanded the program to UTC locations nationwide.

“UTC began this program three years ago in East Hartford, Conn., and every year, more employees participate, more community members join, and the amount of money we raise continues to increase,” said Greg Hayes, UTC SVP & CFO. “Because of our employees’ commitment, UTC is proud to be helping the American Cancer Society save lives and create a world with less cancer.”

UTC will host the 4th Annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life walk-a-thon at UConn’s Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. from 3 p.m. on June 23 to 9 a.m. on June 24.  The Relay For Life event will be hosted by Greg Hayes, senior vice president and chief financial officer.  In 2011, more than 50 UTC teams participated and together raised $180,000.

Event Details
Date: June 23 – 24
Time: 3 p.m. – 9 a.m.
Where: Rentschler Field lot
215 Main Street
East Hartford, Conn
Event Website: www.relayforlife.org/EhartCT

Inspired to Get Involved?
Free Registration for UTC Employees in any Relay For Life event
Full Time employees from across the country can register for free to represent one of UTC’s employee teams. The requirements for free registration are UTC teams must have a full time, domestic UTC employee as the captain and they must incorporate their business unit name or product reference in their team name. 
1. Go to events.cancer.org/RFLUTC.
2. Click the “Find an Event Near You” button to search for a Relay event in your community.
3. Enter a team name to start your team.
4. Select  “United Technologies Corporation” as your Team Company/Organization.
5. Enter Code “UTCRelay” for free registration when prompted for a fee registration code.
6. If you have registered successfully, your team will be listed on the UTC National Corporate Team partner page here.

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