United Way presents 'spirit awards'

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

After completing a successful fund-raising campaign in 2001, the Area Wide United Way took time Tuesday to bestow special recognition upon its supporters with community spirit awards presented during the organization's annual luncheon held Tuesday.

The fund-raising campaign topped its goal in early December, winding up more than 15 percent over the $875,000 goal. With all the receipts in, the Area Wide United Way raised more than $890,000.

Honors were also paid to last year's fund campaign chairman, Steven C. Bjelich, and last years' president of the board, Narvol Randol Jr.

Also announced Tuesday during the luncheon held at the Drury Lodge, were seven new members to the board, and the official retirement of four board members.

"This was an interesting year," said Nancy Jernigan, executive director of the Area Wide United Way. "We had a great impact on helping our community."

Thirty-one organizations will receive funding to support 47 specific programs which provide a variety of services to meet critical community needs. The Area Wide United Way has announced $575,500 in allocations from funds raised during the 2001 campaign in the Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Scott City areas. Some funds have been set aside for one-time grants, which will be awarded this spring. The one-time grants will focus on four areas of need -- transportation, affordable housing, youth substance abuse and assistance for low-income families, said Jernigan.

Dave Courvoisier, who served as master of ceremonies for the luncheon, presented the three Community Spirit Awards, to Edythe Davis, Bank of America and Girl Scouts of Otahki Council.

Spirit of giving

Edythe Davis, a retiring board member from the Area Wide United Way, received this year's "Spirit of Giving" award. Davis, who retired from St. Francis Medical Center five years ago, served as fund-raising campaign chairman in 1998, helping the group to surpass $690,000, a record at that time.

The award Tuesday was a surprise to Davis, who has served on the United Way Board 12 years. "I never expected this. You don't volunteer to receive awards."

Since her retirement, Davis has volunteered from 25 to 30 hours a week, and her commitment to the United Way has grown over the years. "It serves many needs through one organization," she said.

Spirit of community

Bank of America was awarded the "spirit of community award," with bank president Steve Taylor accepting the award. The company's donation record averages $122 per employee.

"The company donation record has been great," said Jernigan. "Those totals are up 70 percent from a year ago."

Spirit of caring

The Girl Scouts of Otahki Council received the "spring of caring" award as a United Way agency that works collaboratively with other local agencies and demonstrates strong volunteer support.

"We have 2,900 Girl Scouts in our area -- Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois," said Denise Stewart, council executive director, who accepted the award. "We depend on volunteers," she said, noting that the Otahki Council has more than 1,000 volunteers.

This marks the second year for the spirit awards.

Last year winners were Harry Rediger, spirit of giving; Mary Burton, spirit of caring award on behalf of the American Red Cross and Larry Stahlman, spirit of community award on behalf of Procter & Gamble Paper Products.

Seven new United Way board directors were announced. They are Ken Parrett, Kathy Swan, Andy Killibrew, Mike Smythe, Chap Arnold, Greg Stroup and Mark Johnson.

Retiring directors were Edythe Davis, Kevin McDonald, Al. Spradling Jr. and Jim Wente.

The new 2002 officers are Steve Taylor, Bank of America, president; Steve Bjelich, St. Francis Medical Center, vice president; Bob Basler, retired executive, treasurer; and Nancy Jernigan, Area Wide United Way, secretary.

rowen@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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