A throng of Whirlpool Corporation employees based in Cleveland have again helped to keep a dream alive by assuring even more critically ill children in the Cleveland and Bradley County community, and surrounding areas, will see their wishes come true.
For the 17th consecutive year, associates representing three Whirlpool operations — Whirlpool Cleveland Division (the plant), Whirlpool Global Product Organization (engineering, research and technology) and Whirlpool Cleveland Customer eXperience Center (call center) — coordinated the company’s annual auction and golf tournament.
Proceeds from the recent event, totaling $26,003, were hand-delivered in the form of an oversized check to Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee.
The auction, which included both a silent and a live event, was held at the Museum Center at Five Points and the golf tournament was held at Cleveland Country Club.
“The Cleveland team for Make-A-Wish was established 17 years ago and continues to have great success,” according to John Underwood, a longtime Whirlpool employee who has worked with the fundraiser every year since its inception.
He added, “The Whirlpool Corporation has been instrumental in the success of this program by donating appliance products over the years and allowing associates to participate on the Cleveland planning team.”
The annual fundraiser actually began as an initiative of the old Maytag Corporation which, like Whirlpool, fully supported the local operations — the plant, engineering and call center — in partnering with Make-A-Wish of East Tennessee.
A handful of Whirlpool employees, like Underwood, have participated with the annual fundraiser since day one. Many have come and gone, and others continue to sign on as Make-A-Wish volunteers.
In its 17 years, the Maytag and Whirlpool community campaign has netted more than $400,000 on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee.
“Plans are already underway for the 2014 program,” Underwood said. “On behalf of the planning team, and on behalf of the Whirlpool Corporation and our Cleveland operations, we want to offer a special thank you to all area merchants for helping to make this year’s event such a success.”
Underwood said Cleveland and Bradley County residents, merchants and golfing activists for years have partnered with Maytag and Whirlpool to help make a wish come true for critically ill area children through the East Division chapter of Make-A-Wish.
“It’s always a thrill to have the opportunity to work on this project and to bring a little hope into the life of a local child,” he said. “Every child has a wish. When we can help make it come true, it’s all the more special — to the family, to the child, to the Make-A-Wish and to us.”
A few of the key Whirlpool workers who made this year’s fundraiser a reality included Gary Nowlin, Shelia Nicholson, James Brown, Dale Hall, Brandon Seger, John Underwood, Colleen Trew, Anna Rants, Suzanne Volk, Cheryl Smith, Steve Leach, Josh Harden, Chris Walden, Cathy Vaughn, Heath Culpepper, Dutch Van Zandt, Jessica Norris and Dwayne Parrot.
The check presentation was made in front of the massive Whirlpool Cleveland Division plant on Benton Pike. It was presented by the Whirlpool team to Stephanie Wilkins, representing the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee.