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Dupree lands at United Way
Veteran community worker relishing new role in county
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Forsyth County News

Like many people, Jerry Dupree took a Thanksgiving vacation from work.

But after leaving his post at the Hands on Forsyth division of Community Connection on Nov. 22, he went to a new job at United Way of Forsyth County.

Community Connection is a private, nonprofit family partnership. As a result of a drop in donations and increased demand for services, it had to cut Dupree's job from the payroll and rely on volunteers.

During his three years with Hands on Forsyth, Dupree was the face of the Snug as a Bug and Helping Hands for Seniors programs. Despite being let go, he planned to continue with them as a volunteer.

"But it makes it a lot easier whenever you have something to help you with expenses," he said.

Dupree was hired Dec. 1 as a part-time employee for United Way's school social workers and senior center programs.

"I'm basically doing the same thing I was doing previously," he said. "I love it. I tell you what, I couldn't be more happy doing this."

Noting that Community Connection is a United Way agency, Dupree said he had several contacts through his previous position.

The local United Way is on track to reach its 2009 fundraising campaign goal of about $1.7 million.

Michelle Prater, director of resource development, said the organization is near 40 percent of that mark, and has seen regular donors increase their gifts.

Some of the money raised will go toward partnering agencies, which will provide Dupree with tools such as rental and utilities assistance and other emergency financial help for county seniors and youth in need.

There is one downside to Dupree's new job. His employment with the nonprofit organization is on a temporary basis and guaranteed only through March.  

Dupree's not sure what will happen after that, but is grateful to be employed during a recession.

"I'm not even worried about that point," he said of his contract. "Man, I'm just happy to be able to be doing things I'm doing for the people who desperately need it.

"We'll just see where we go from there."