When most people hear the words "St. Charles Parish," usually their first thought is that of the Hale Boggs Bridge. It's towers rise over 400 feet tall into the sky with its 5,280 miles of cable used to suspend the roadway well above the Mississippi River traffic below. It truly is a parish symbol. It has done more to pull this parish together than any other effort or object before it.
But for others, the words "St. Charles Parish" bring to mind the thoughts of a very compassionate and caring community -- people who are concerned about their neighbors' needs and are willing to unselfishly assist in any way they can to improve the quality of life for every St. Charles Parish resident.
Well, regardless which one of these parish icons you associate with the words "St. Charles Parish," your thoughts will intersect this Saturday morning.
Early this Saturday morning, the Hale Boggs Bridge will be partially closed to vehicular traffic as it readies itself for the start of an ever-growing local tradition. Runners from all over the state will line up at the starting line on the east bank and race up the steep incline, then a similar decline towards the finish line on the west bank.
Why are they doing this you ask?
For the Tenth Annual Valero-Hale Boggs Mississippi River Bridge 5k Walk/Run, of course. All proceeds benefit the United Way of St. Charles. Our parish icon has all the ingredients to become the site of one of the state's most prestigious running events and you can play a part in this great cause.
Soon, this event will be mentioned with the likes of the Crescent City Classic when referring to premiere racing events. But, what this event really identifies is our sense of community. We are always looking for ways to improve our communities here in St. Charles Parish and this event will do just that.
St. Charles Parish is as diverse as can be. We have people who are in need, people who will be in need, and people whose lives will be enhanced through United Way funded programs.
More importantly, we also have those who, through unselfish generosity, have the compassion necessary to help their neighbors who may be less fortunate than themselves.
Over the past few years, millions of dollars have been pledged through St. Charles United Way. These funds have been used to support a total of 36 programs and service programs and service organizations last year -- worthwhile causes such as the American Red Cross, Social Concerns, Performing Arts, Boy and Girl Scouts, Council on Aging, and much, much more.
In fact, it's not very likely that your life has gone untouched by at least one or more of the programs and services funded by the United Way of St. Charles.
With each organization or group the United Way funds is a reinforcement of St. Charles Parish's stability while addressing those elements that contribute to our carefree atmosphere.
The success of our United Way is just one of those things that makes us unique. This year, do your part and touch the lives of your own neighbors. And in doing so, each time you drive across the Hale Boggs Bridge, you can mumble the words, been there, done that, and got a T-shirt to prove it.