‘Celebrate United’
Mar 01, 2013 | 431 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Looking back is traditionally the focus of the United Way of Bradley County Annual Dinner, but this year’s “Celebrate United” community festivity on March 5 comes with added purpose.

As United Way leadership volunteers work behind the scenes — already — to prepare for the 2013-14 fundraising campaign, all eyes also look to an historic milestone. This year marks United Way of Bradley County’s 75th anniversary.

Certainly, such a grand occasion will earn more than a few remarks at this year’s dinner which will review the nonprofit organization’s outstanding work from 2012. A huge crowd approaching 400 people is expected to line the Professional Development Center at Life Care Centers of America, as it always does.

United Way’s annual awards banquet is a unique moment when the organization itself can say “thank you” to the community while also pinpointing the unconditional support it has received from a myriad of area businesses, industries, schools, banks and other nonprofit agencies. The dinner also is intended to offer special tributes to a handful of individuals whose selfless support — as volunteers and contributors — has truly made a difference.

For instance, consider these happenings on tap for next Tuesday’s dinner:

n The second annual Jim Tucker Award will be presented which is United Way’s highest honor to a service organization leader. Last year’s inaugural recipient was James Anderson, executive director of the Family Resource Agency. In this community, the name of Jim Tucker needs no introduction. One needs only to consider Cleveland Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland and United Way, and this defines the dedicated spirit of a great community servant.

n Community Spirit awards, a tribute to organizations showing unprecedented commitment to United Way, will be presented. Last year’s recipients were Life Care Centers of America, Southern Heritage Bank, P&G Duracell, Whirlpool Cleveland Division, Cormetech and the Cleveland Daily Banner.

n The William F. Johnson Sr. Community Service Award, which is United Way’s highest honor bestowed upon a volunteer, will be given. Last year’s recipient was Art Rhodes who was the award’s 40th honoree.

n Pacesetter and Challenger organizations, those that committed to early, and improved, campaigns last year, will be recognized.

n The “Big Chief” Award, which honors the campaign co-chairperson whose team of division leaders and solicitors accrued the highest percent of goal, will be presented. The pair contending in this year’s friendly rivalry are popular business leaders, and longtime United Way volunteers, Debbie Melton and Richie Hughes.

Reservation deadline was Tuesday, but those wishing additional information about the coming event may contact United Way at 479-2020 or 472-9876. Information may also be obtained by sending an email to Cathy Quintard at the United Way office, cathyquintard@unitedwaybc.com.

United Way’s annual dinner brings closure for a successful legion of volunteers, and staff, whose time, energy and talents have been given to their neighbors most in need and to our entire Cleveland and Bradley County hometown.

Likewise, the United Way festivity will crank a new engine of people service whose momentum will build as we deepen our journey into 2013, while navigating a crowded raceway of community need.