The Southeastern North Carolina 2012 Combined Federal Campaign awards ceremony took place at Pope Theater, Wednesday.

The ceremony was held to recognize the contributions of Eagle award recipients to the CFC, which supports eligible nonpro-fits that provide health and human service benefits worldwide.

In addressing this year’s contributors, Major Gen. Rodney O. Anderson, deputy commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg said, “We are always mindful that we are blessed to live in the U.S. . . what you’ve done helps to reinforce the fact that America is strong and North Carolina is strong,” Anderson said.

The SENC CFC exceeded its $2.5 million goal, collecting instead $2,524,684, he said.

“Without you guys, there is no campaign,” said Dan Russell, SENC CFC director.

The 2012 SENC CFC had 2818 Eagle givers whose contributions ranged from $300 to $11,664, amounting to 68 percent or more than $1.7 million of this year’s campaign, Russell said.

Over the years, Col. Tami Zalewski has donated to various organizations including the American Red Cross and to cancer agencies. As a health care professional assigned to FORSCOM surgeon’s office, Zalewski said she sees the need.

American Soldiers do not always realize how well they have it, said Zalewski. Servicemembers here get benefits and retirement — something Afghan soldiers do not.

“I think some of the younger Soldiers look around at what they don’t have, but if they’ve been overseas, they’ll realize what they do have,” said Zalewski, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Everybody should give back whatever they can.”

Staff Sgt. Mark Maedge agreed.

“The money goes to a good cause. There are all different kinds of charities out there,” he said.

David Baran received his award for donating to the CARE Clinic, which provides free health care to low-income, uninsured adults in Cumberland County. Baran said he learned about the CARE Clinic from his Family doctors, and wanted to help the organization.

“It supports people who can’t afford health care,” Baran said.

According to its website, more than 4000 charities participated in the 2011 CFC campaign, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Operation Smile, United Service Organizations, the Alzheimer’s Association, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Women’s Health Network and the Men’s Health Network.

For more information on donating to the SENC CFC, visit its website at www.senccfc.org.