“Be Someone’s Hero” – Drew Rowe, 2022 Campaign Chairman

Campaign Chairman Drew Rowe & Brandon Branham, a Boys & Girls Club of Morristown club member, are out for a day of fishing on the shore of Cherokee Lake.
“The impact these agencies have on our community is truly heroic. They need us to succeed, even heroes need a strong support network.” – Campaign Chair Drew Rowe at the Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast, September 8, 2022

by: Jennifer B. Winkler

In his fifth year of being involved with United Way of Hamblen County, this year’s Campaign Chairman and Vice President of the Board of Directors, Drew Rowe, said that he has been “impressed with how the agencies we support use their allocated funds with great efficiency,” and not only are the agencies themselves well-managed, but “they are good stewards” of their funds, too. “For me, it’s very impressive that of all the money raised in our campaign, at least 85% goes back into the community,” said Rowe. Unfortunately, many other national non-profit organizations maintain a higher overhead with a lower percentage of the funds going to the people that truly need it, “but that’s not the case with the United Way of Hamblen County,” he said.

As a bridge connecting our community’s steadfast financial support to local agencies and the needs of many, United Way of Hamblen County has upheld a legacy of neighborly, community-based giving for 67 years. Anyone who lives or works in Hamblen County is able to gain access to these resources and is encouraged to do so. With diverse needs across a growing population to support, this year’s campaign fundraising goal is $1.35 million dollars, on par with last year’s goal.

“Humbled, but excited,” is a sentiment Rowe shared that he felt when Executive Director Gary Matthews asked him to serve as chair, but also one by which his life, work, and inspiration are illuminated. From a position of humility, one can endeavor to achieve or be just about anything—including a hero. As chair, Rowe selected this year’s theme, Be Someone’s Hero, affirming that its poignancy “struck [him] instantly because it highlights that normal people become heroes by doing the right thing”. Extending beyond the campaign, Rowe noted that glimmers of this mantra consistently dot the landscape of his life, emphasizing its ability to motivate himself and because of that, “I know that I can motivate people with this theme” he said.

Campaign Chairman Drew Rowe & Brandon Branham, a Boys & Girls Club of Morristown club member, are out for a day of fishing on the shore of Cherokee Lake.

Cornerstones in his life and work, Rowe listed a few examples of similar mottos that give shape to his own values. A selection of scripture, Luke 12:48, he holds dear that highlights the importance of giving back to the community: “To whom much is given, much will be required.” His service as a United States Army officer where selfless service is regarded as one of the four tenets of leadership. As a Rotarian with Rotary Club of Morristown, abiding by the motto of “Service above self.” And finally, the guiding principle of Sonoco where Rowe is Plant Manager: “People Build Businesses by Doing the Right Thing”. “All of these slogans emphasize to our donors that their contributions make a huge difference in the community,” Rowe concluded.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, in a town approximately half the size of Hamblen County, Rowe graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Engineering and was subsequently commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Infantry. While at Penn State, he met Tara, his wife of 35 years. They have two daughters, Caitlin and Mackenzie, who are both Army officers and are both married to Army officers. Caitlin, the oldest, recently completed fifteen months in command of a military intelligence company, will soon be moving to Boston for graduate school, and then plans to teach at West Point. Mackenzie is an Army nurse currently on a nine-month deployment to Kuwait, but is scheduled to return to the U.S. later this month. While they have lived in seven states and moved ten times throughout their marriage, the Rowes have been in Tennessee for five years and plan to stay here permanently.

United Way of Hamblen County is a local collaborative effort of volunteers, partner agencies, advocates, and donors committed to advancing the common good of all who live or work in the county through the financial support of multiple health and human service agencies. By empowering those in need with the resources and tools necessary to be successful, our entire community benefits directly through increased access to education, support for housing and basic needs, care at all ages, financial stability, and improved health and wellness.

Among the health and human service agencies that partner with us, we have welcomed two additional ones for this campaign year, bringing our roster total to twenty-two. Newly added this year are HOLA Lakeway and SafeSpace. United Way of Hamblen County’s partner agencies support the community by  Responding to Crisis and providing Temporary Shelter, Improving Health and Abilities, Caring for our Seniors, and Helping Everyone Succeed through the Arts, Education, and Social Support.  Our partner agencies for this campaign year are: American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of Morristown, Boy Scouts, Great Smoky Mountain Council, Central Services, Epilepsy Foundation, Friends of Hospice, Girls Inc. of Hamblen County, Helping Hands Clinic, HOLA Lakeway, Kingswood Home for Children, Lakeway Achievement Center, Lakeway CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), McNabb Center, Ministerial Association Temporary Shelter (M.A.T.S.), Morristown Hamblen Child Care Center, Morristown Rescue Squad, Rose Center, SafeSpace, Senior Citizens Center, Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service, and Stepping Out.