United Way reaches 100 percent of fundraising goal

| February 13, 2020

AK Steel was named the top giver during the United Way annual awards breakfast held Feb. 13 at Coshocton Village Inn & Suites. Pictured from left are AK Steel employees: Jerry Sturtz, Jerry Cunningham, Troy Balo, Jenna Elswick, Kurt Knicely, Scott Muhleman, and John Slaughter. (Mark Fortune)

United Way supporters gathered together to celebrate a successful fundraising campaign during the annual awards breakfast held Feb. 13 at Coshocton Village Inn & Suites.

“Happy 80th birthday to us,” said Tom Heading, president of the United Way Board of Directors. “Since 1940 the United Way has been serving Coshocton County through generous citizens, like yourselves, who have collected and returned over 13 million dollars back into Coshocton. We are gathered today to celebrate all of the work that has gone into this campaign that has brought in 100 percent of our $325,000 goal with $326,400 in pledges and donations.”

All those who assisted with the campaign including members of the media, board members, volunteers, and corporate sponsor Jeff Drennen Dealerships were thanked for their efforts and hard work. Appreciation also was shown to Heading. He has served on the board of directors for six years and is set to rotate off.

“He spent four of those six years as president and it’s a big job,” said Lyn Mizer, executive director of United Way. “He has to put his John Hancock on a lot of different papers including your awards. We very much appreciate all the service Tom has given us.”

Breakfast from the Daily Bread Bakery was then enjoyed before several partner agencies shared their stories and awards were presented.

Vicki Casey from First Step was the first to speak.

“Because of United Way we are able to have matching funds for federal grants that allow us to provide services to victims of domestic violence,” she said.

Casey shared several stories from people connected to her organization including one lady who said she felt alone, defeated, and trapped before being referred to First Step. Today she sees herself as a survivor instead of a victim.

“Brent McKee from the sheriff’s office said we are always there when they call and he remembers a time when they didn’t have anyone to call,” Casey said.

Candy Angle from the Coshocton County Handicapped Society then shared how they were able to get a woman the multiple items she needed to be able to return home from a rehab center.

“They needed so much stuff and had no insurance,” Angle said. “We did have everything they needed, and her husband was able to take her home that afternoon. Thank you to everyone who donates to us and to United Way. We really do appreciate everything.”

Another way United Way helps the community is through grants like the one they were able to give the Coshocton Coordinated Transportation Agency. Valerie Shaw, director of the agency, shared that with United Way’s help they were able to start a deviated fixed route for residents.

“Last Friday (Feb. 7) was our first day and a 92-year-old was our first rider,” Shaw said. “She made three stops and was so excited. She usually has to rely on neighbors, and this made her feel more independent.”

Mindy Fehrman than shared about Coshocton C.A.R.E.S., which was started 15 years ago. In the beginning the college access program was designed to help juniors and seniors in high school, but it now offers programs for kindergarten through high school students. Brian Crilow was the director of the program for 11 years but has retired. He, however, will stay on as the advisor for Ridgewood schools and Lisa Akers will be the new director.

Next up to be honored was corporate sponsor Jeff Drennen Dealerships, which was being represented by Chuck Mikulik and Josh Ward. After being introduced by United Way Board Member and newly elected president Steve Oster, Mikulik shared that Drennen is celebrating 17 years in the community.

“Giving back to the community is important to him (Jeff) because when he first came here the community supported him,” Mikulik said. “We were thankful to have been part of this. We had a good time this year and we appreciate Lyn.”

The next corporate sponsor will be McWane Ductile.

“This was a really easy decision for us when you have someone like Lyn here,” said Tom Crawford from McWane. “If anything, Lyn deserves a round of applause. She does an awesome job. Giving back to and investing in the community is what it’s all about.”

The top giver award wrapped up the morning and it was again presented to AK Steel.

“On behalf of AK Steel we are proud to be sponsors of United Way,” said Jerry Sturtz, manager of human resources. “Lyn does an outstanding job, but it takes a community and we are proud to be a participant.”

Last year it was reported that for the past 20 years, AK has donated $733,000. With their donation of another $51,000 this year, they are up to $784,000.

Lyn then shared one last story about the impact United Way makes. Five-year-old George Ellis, with the help of his mom Danielle Ellis, wrote a letter to the organization and George donated $2.

“He was our youngest donor,” Mizer said. “When our world has young philanthropist like him you know we are doing well.”


United Way awards

The criteria for the awards are as follows:

  • Bronze Award: Gift of $250 – $499
  • Silver Award: Gift of $500 – $999
  • Gold Award: Gift of $1,000 – $10,000
  • President’s Award: Gift of $10,000 or more
  • Commitment Award Awarded when a business or office has 90 percent or more employee participation in the United Way campaign.

Retirees/Special Gifts

The retiree’s division had a goal of $11,000 and raised $9,200 which is 84 percent of their goal.

The special gifts division raised more than $14,000 which is 102 percent of their goal.

Agribusiness Division

The businesses and individuals in this division raised $3,900 of their $5,000 goal.

  • Gold Award with 100 percent participation: Coshocton Grain Co.

Schools Division

The school’s division collectively raised more than $29,100 which is 101 percent of its goal of $29,000.

Total gift from the Coshocton City Schools Staff and Students: $15,000. In the last five years they have doubled their donations.

  • Gold Award: Coshocton Elementary Staff – with commitment; Coshocton Elementary Students; Coshocton High School and Junior High Staff – with commitment; Coshocton High School and Junior High Students; Coshocton City Schools – Superintendent’s Office

Total gift from River View Staff and Students: $6,700

  • Gold Award: River View High School Staff and Warsaw Elementary Staff
  • Silver Award: River View High School Student Council and River View Junior High Staff
  • Bronze Award: River View Central Office and Conesville Elementary Staff

Total Gift from Ridgewood Staff and Students: $3,900

  • Gold Award: Ridgewood Elementary Staff-with commitment
  • Silver Award: Ridgewood Elementary Students, Ridgewood High School Staff, and Ridgewood Middle School Staff

Coshocton County Career Center: $3,600 and a gold award with 100 percent participation

Professional Division

The professional division raised more than $23,200 which is 73 percent of its goal.

  • President’s Award: Coshocton Regional Medical Center
  • Silver Award: First Step Family Violence Intervention Services, Jacobs Vanaman Agency, Erwin Family Eye Care, and Pleasant Valley Veterinary Clinic
  • Bronze Award: Three Rivers Dental Arts and Boy Scouts of America – Muskingum Valley Council

Public Employees

The public employees have the dubious distinction of surpassing its goal to reach 118 percent by raising $25,900.

City of Coshocton Employees

  • Silver Award with 100 percent participation: Mayor’s Office
  • Bronze Award: Waste Water Treatment Plant

Coshocton County Employees

  • Gold Award with 100 percent participation: Coshocton County Health, Commissioner’s Office, and Hopewell School/Board of DD
  • Gold Award: Auditor’s Office – with commitment, Juvenile & Probate Court – with commitment, Engineer’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Coshocton Public Library, and Job & Family Services
  • Silver Award: Common Pleas Court and EMS
  • Bronze Award with 100 percent participation: Maternal & Child Health and Treasurer’s Office
  • Bronze Award: Clerk of Courts/Title Department, Coordinated Transportation, and OSU Extension

Retail/Small Business Division

The retail/small business division raised $32,800 or 106 percent of its goal.

  • Gold Award 100 percent participation: People’s Bank
  • Gold Award: Amvets Post 36 Inc, Century National Bank- a Division of Park National Bank with commitment, Coshocton Behavioral Health Choices, Hilscher-Clarke Electric, Home Loan Savings Bank, Wilson Carpet & Furniture, and WTNS Radio Station
  • Silver Award 100 percent participation: Coshocton County Beacon
  • Silver Award: Classic Auto Supply, Hasseman Marketing, and Wal-Mart
  • Bronze Award 100 percent participation: Baird Concrete Products
  • Bronze Award: Auer Ace Hardware and Lity Scrap Yard

Industrial Awards

The industrial division is a key component to the local United Way campaign. Their goal comprises almost 60 percent of the total campaign. This year they collected more than $184,600 which put them at 104 percent of its goal.

  • President’s Award Winners $10,000 and up: Buckeye Brine, Kraft-Heinz Employees, and McWane Ductile-Ohio, A Division of McWane Inc.
  • Gold Award with 100 percent participation: Buckeye Fabric Finishing and Frontier Power
  • Gold Award: Annin & Company, Jones Metal Products Co., Kokosing Construction Company, MFM, SanCast Inc., and PSI Industrial Solutions
  • Silver Award: Hathaway, Inc.
  • Bronze Award: AEP-Distribution and Ohio Fabricators Co.

Top Giver Award: AK Steel.

Last year it was reported that according to United Way records for the past 20 years, AK has donated $733,000. With their donation of another $51,000 this year, they are up to $784,000.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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