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United Way honors volunteers, looks to future

SALISBURY — Rowan County United Way leaders celebrated the success of a 2017 campaign that raised more than $1.5 million and looked toward the future and a new fundraising model.

“Embrace needed change,” outgoing President Henry Diggs told the annual meeting crowd Wednesday. “It’s necessary for us to change to better meet the needs of our community.”

Bill Burgin is the incoming president.

Special kudos went to Daimler Trucks and Cheerwine for their generosity in 2017. Lane Bailey, co-chairman of the drive along with Aaron Church, said the companies made the campaign successful.

Daimler gave a $100,000 corporate gift. Plant manager Henning Bruns said the Cleveland plant has a long history of supporting United Way, “and we will continue.”

Cheerwine gave a $100,000 challenge grant as part of the company’s centennial celebration in 2017. Cliff Ritchie, head of Cheerwine, said the company was born in Salisbury and proud to have a part in the United Way effort.

“It’s just nice to know, when we all work together, we’re at our best,” Ritchie said.

The campaign started with a goal of $1,478,000 and ended with a total of $1,524,204 in donations and pledges.

Awards and recipients given out were:

Jackie Award for enthusiasm and support: Jim Behmer

Most Employee Spirit throughout the campaign: City of Salisbury

Helping Hand Award for outstanding service: John Struzick.

Best Overall Campaign: Fewer than 100 employees, Global Contact Services, with per-capital pledges of $1,101.64; more than 100 employees, F&M Bank, with per-capital pledges of $469.68.

Most Improved Campaign: Fewer than 100, Power Curbers; more than 100, Agility Fuel Systems.

Campaign Award for Excellence: Fewer than 100, Shaver Wood Products, which raised $31,314, a 48 percent increase over three years; more than 100, Rowan County government, with a total of $54,645, up 69 percent over three years.

Campaign Chairman’s Achievement Award: Innospec, for the second year in a row.

Special recognition went to the four car dealers who for 12 years have helped United Way donors participate in the annual new-car raffle — Ben Mynatt Nissan, Cloninger Ford Toyota, Gerry Wood Auto Group and Team Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac

In recognition of the Service Above Self youth awards’ ongoing success, President Brien Lewis of Catawba College announced the school will offer three Service Above Self scholarships of $3,000, two for juniors or seniors and one for an eighth-grader.

Distinguished agency awards went to the American Red Cross, Arc of Rowan, Boy Scouts, Communities in Schools, Families First, Family Crisis Council, Literacy Council, Meals on Wheels, Rescue Squad, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center Smart Start, Trinity Living Center, Rowan Vocational Opportunities and the YMCA.

New Rowan United Way officers elected, in addition to Burgin, were Shawn Adelsberger, vice president forplanning; Penny Greer-Link, vice president for allocations; Barry Hill, vice president for agency relations; Michelle Patterson, vice president for public relations; and Gary Blabon, treasurer.

Burgin said he knew he’d have plenty of back-up in the year ahead.

“I look out among you and I see angels, and I thank you so much for what you’ve done,” Burgin said.

Then he turned his attention toward 2018-2o, when the United Way’s new community impact model of fundraising will phased in.

“We hope by doing that, that we will be able tell our donors that their gifts have not simply helped people in the community in the short term but have actually changed their lives,” he said.

Also addressing the gathering was Executive Director Bob Lippard, who recently announced his resignation after 34 years of working with Rowan County United Way. “Your service as volunteers is remarkable,” Lippard said. “I am indebted to all of you. …

“I hope you will continue to be rewarded and blessed as you have blessed me.”

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