United Way Celebrates 61st Annual Meeting

United Way of Gaston County celebrated its 61st annual meeting on Feb. 21, 2014 at the Gaston County Club. United Way President Deborah Ally announced that the organization’s annual fundraising campaign is on pace to match last year’s donations, and emphasized the organization’s commitment to Community Impact.DSCN5279

“Gaston County is fortunate to have so many civic-minded people who lend their time, talents and resources to meet the needs in our community,” said Ally. “Your assistance has enabled us to help families stay in their homes, encourage healthy lifestyles and support students to complete high school.”

Overall, nearly 95,000 people were served by United Way-funded programs and initiatives in 2013.

The event gave United Way the opportunity to recognize companies and individuals that significantly contribute to the organization through employee donations or volunteerism. Community volunteers and staff presented 41 total awards.

United Way was also pleased to present three special awards to individuals who have had a significant impact on the community.

The Caroline Garrison Award was presented to Barbara Voorhees, former United Way of Gaston County President, and recognizes women who have exhibited compassion, strength and innovation through their volunteer service to the greater Gaston area.

The Dr. Edward D. Sadler, Jr. Award was presented for the first time, and was awarded to three individuals who have demonstrated commitment to the community through their work with Gaston Youth Connected to reduce teen pregnancy rates. Those individuals were Amanda Fuller, Michele Reese, and Kia Thacker.

The Harold T. Sumner Award was presented to Larry Petty of Petty Machine for his lifetime of work with Gaston County Schools and throughout the community.

The meeting also served as an opportunity for United Way to thank outgoing Board Chair, Jason Shoemaker, and outgoing board members Randy Kelly, Rusty Harris, Maribeth Jenkins, and Dr. Edward Sadler for their service to the board of directors. Shoemaker is replaced by James Alan of American & Efird as Board Chair.

New members to the board of directors were recognized and included: Eric Clay of Caldwell Banker Commercial MECA, Mount Holly City Manager Danny Jackson, and Silvia Patricia Rios Husain who is Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment at Gaston College.

Jeffrey Booker, Superintendent of Gaston County Schools, was named the 2014 Annual Campaign Chair.

United Way of Gaston County was founded in 1953 and supports 22 Partner Agencies and 43 programs. For information please contact Ashley Smith at 704-864-4554 x104, or by email at Asmith@unitedwaygaston.org.