United Way of Kosciusko County had its annual celebration at Center Lake Pavilion in Warsaw Thursday. The agency announced its campaign results for 2013 and honored three volunteers with awards.
Last year, United Way raised $1.9 million.
Patricia Coy, director of United Way said, “The annual campaign is not the main goal of United Way. It’s one of our tools we use, which allows us to accomplish the good work we do, to further our mission of uniting the community to create positive change.”
The funds are given to various programs in the county. More than $161,000 was given to United Way funded initiatives, such as the 211 service and Volunteer Kosciusko. Over $1.6 million is used to fund community programs.
In 2014, United Way will be embarking on a branding campaign. United Way hopes to increase the number of those in the community who are familiar with the work it does and its focus areas of education, income and health. A short campaign video was played with a “puzzle” theme.
United Way funded a kindergarten countdown with the assistance of Warsaw schools. This project identified 49 children in Warsaw schools who had no previous preschool experience. There were 42 children who completed the countdown and there were measurable improvements in nine categories, such as counting. Funding will be continued for this year’s countdown.
After the video, United Way honored its volunteers and several awards were handed out. Volunteer of the Year award was given to Denny Cripe, who retired from RR Donelley. Cripe has been with United Way since 2009. He has assisted with the annual Day of Caring, both as a volunteer and as a volunteer inspector. He volunteered each day of the 17-day kindergarten countdown last year. He also served on this year’s campaign cabinet. He has participated in the vision council process and continues to serve as the chair of the education vision council.
Tabitha Cooper and Jamie Gift of Paragon Medical received the Key Leader of the Year award. This is the first year the award was given to two people. They raised employee participation by 21 percent and they assisted in increasing employee donations by 47 percent compared to last year.
The Award of Excellence was given to three companies: Lake City Bank, Mid City Supply Co., and United Way of Kosciusko County.
Employee Advancement Awards were given to: DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction, Paragon Medical, Tower Bank, and the town of Winona Lake.
Day of Caring Awards were given to Tim Klowetter of DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction and Jody Melton of Zimmer. Day of Caring was held last summer. Seventy projects in seven communities were done with the help of 1,000 volunteers.
Board members were also elected. New board members are Adam Turner of Turner Valentine Law Office and Nathan Conley of Lake City Bank. Board members elected to a second term are: Kitty Cheatham of DePuy Synthes, Tony Garza of Garza Law Office, Josh Gordon of Tower Bank, and Brad Hinkle of Zimmer.
Three board members completed their second term and are: Erin Rowland Jones of Rowland Law Office, Cripe, and Everett Nifong of Lake City Bank.
In addition, $1,000 was given to Kosciusko Community Senior Services in a drawing held at the end of the luncheon.