United Way reaches 97 percent of campaign goal

| March 21, 2019

AEP Conesville was honored at the United Way breakfast for its many years of contributing to the annual campaign. Accepting the award on behalf of AEP Conesville was: Carolyn Barr, Mary Ellen Daugherty, Heather Hardesty, and Laurie Stephan. Mark Fortune | Beacon

COSHOCTON – All those who donated their time, money and talents to the United Way of Coshocton County campaign were celebrated at the annual breakfast meeting held March 21 at Coshocton Village Inn & Suites.

The campaign goal was $325,000 and so far $317,600 or 97.7 percent of the goal has been raised.

“We are grateful for every penny of that,” said Tom Heading, president of the United Way Board of Directors.

Money raised from the campaign helps support United Way’s partner agencies, which are: The American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Coshocton CARES, First Step, Girl Scouts, the Handicapped Society, Kids America/Coshocton Rec, the Maternal and Child Health Center, Rising Tide, River View East, River View West, and The Salvation Army.

A representative from each agency was asked to light a candle and explain who they were lighting it on behalf of.

Matt Riddle, executive director of the American Red Cross, spoke about a recent situation where his disaster relief volunteers assisted a family in Warsaw.

Jeff Drennen from Jeff Drennen Dealerships spoke about being the corporate sponsor for the 2019-2020 United Way of Coshocton County campaign. Mark Fortune | Beacon

“There was a house fire and it was a family of nine,” he said. “They were a foster family and had seven kids ranging in age from 18 months to 8. They lost everything. When we get calls like this we are able to go out and provide financial assistance because of United Way. We help them with a hotel stay, comfort kits and blankets. We even provide foster care for pets.”

Riddle added that they have responded to numerous fires since the start of the year and are about to hit double digits.

“I am going to be actively out speaking about preparedness and education to get that number down,” he said.

Isaac Bush, executive director at Kids America, was excited to share that they had taken over the city summer rec program and are partnering with United Way. More than 150 kids are currently signed up to participate in the softball and baseball programs.

“We are lighting our candle in honor of Lincoln Jones,” Bush said. “He’s the epitome of Kids America. He’s 6-years-old and loves everything Kids America. It’s our goal to give kids a safe place to play and act out their sports and recreation desires. Thank you for your support.”

Rising Tide lit its candle in honor of the high school swimmers who started with the program and those who have become life guards.

Representatives from each of the agencies thanked United Way, but Lyn Mizer, executive director of United Way said that thank you also went to the donors.

“This is what your dollars are doing and the difference your money is making in Coshocton,” she said.

Donors were presented with awards for their contributions and corporate sponsor Buckeye Brine was honored.

“We have had corporate sponsors offset campaign expenses for the last 20 years,” Heading said. “Buckeye Brine agreed to sponsor the 18-19 campaign and we are grateful. Buckeye Brine has been a tremendous supporter of our local UW for the last eight years giving $182,000. We are grateful for the support not only for these past eight years but for their sponsorship as well.”

The corporate sponsor for the 2019-2020 campaign will be Jeff Drennen Dealerships.

“We want to work hard to be a bigger part of the community and give back,” Drennen said. “We are glad to be able to help. Being the sponsor is the easy part. Thank you for all the time and hard work you put into the campaign.”

The director’s award then went to AEP.

“I realized that this will be the last year that AEP Generation will be able to run a local campaign,” Mizer said. “They started in our community as Columbus and Southern in 1957. Our records are sketchy at best that far back but since 1985, I have guesstimated that they have given Coshocton three-fourths of a million, so I would venture to say that since they opened they have given Coshocton United Way at least a million dollars.”

She added that Laurie Stephan and her team have done a phenomenal job encouraging their co-workers to continue to give.

“Lots of our employees have given over the years and a number of them or their spouses have been involved with United Way programs,” Stephan said. “I’m sure many will continue to help in their retirement.”

Heading had the pleasure of presenting the top giver award to AK Steel.

“We only have access to giving records for the past 20 years, but in the past 20 years, AK steel employees and corporate donations total close to three-fourths of a million dollars,” he said. “That’s three-fourths of a million put back into Coshocton or $733,000.  No words can express how grateful we are.”

AK Steel employees present at the meeting said they were more than glad to participate in the campaign.

Mizer wrapped up the meeting by announcing some upcoming United Way events. The annual clean up day will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 13. Volunteers will meet at the court square and be assigned to various areas. They also will celebrate giving out the 100,000 free book to a Coshocton child through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. This program will be held from 11 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 18 on the court square. Plans also are in the works to celebrate the organizations 80th anniversary in 2020.

“We couldn’t do what we do without your help,” Mizer said. “I hope you leave today knowing your dollars are put to work well in our community.”

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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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