United Way Honors Its Life Blood – Volunteers

OSWEGO, NY – Volunteers are the life blood of the United Way, usually toiling away behind the scenes. However, they were center stage Wednesday at the organization’s annual meeting.

Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, gave a heart-felt thank you to all the dedicated individuals who joined together to make the 2010 – 2011 United Way campaign a success.

“Your efforts have sustained the independence of our seniors, helped our children develop to their full potential, assisted our special needs residents and strengthened our families,” she said. “The success of this campaign reflects the collective efforts of many people whose commitment of time, expertise, of personal generosity exemplifies what it means to live united.”

“On behalf of the 24 partner agencies of United Way, I thank you for your selfless involvement in our common cause,” she continued. “I thank you for your generosity and spirit. I thank you for your willingness to be part of a movement for a better Oswego County. Your dedication is an inspiration!”

Wendy Tetro is in her first term as United Way board president.

As a long-time board member, she said she is “well aware of the challenges that we face.”

“Difficult economic conditions, a shrinking workforce are factors that we have had to address and are still coping with,” she noted. “I am proud to say however that thanks to the concern that you have shown for your friends and neighbors . . . we have been able to meet these challenges.”

She pointed out that the teamwork displayed by those associated with the United Way helped ensure the campaign’s success.

“We are firmly committed to our goal of building a healthy, strong community by supporting programs that are the building blocks for a good life. In that spirit we started a new fundraiser this year – the 60 Minute Challenge,” she said.

She also touched on some of the organization’s other accomplishments over the last year.

“When we reach out and help someone that is need, that action reverberates throughout the community,” Tetro said. “Supporting the United Way not only brings comfort, it helps to inspire others to lend their support and ultimately enable us and our member agencies to serve even more families and individuals.”

A donation to the United Way “is the single best way to help the most people,” she pointed out.

Campaign chair Jonathon Daniels reviewed the campaign to date.

“The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer,” he said quoting the US Marines’ mantra. “For Oswego County, we live by a slightly different code; it is ever so poignant here this morning – the difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a volunteer.”

Volunteers make a difference “with very little fanfare,” he said. “But, without whom we would not be able to meet the needs of more than 20 agencies that rely on the assistance of the United Way.”

He said he believes the United Way will reach its goal of $800,000 before the campaign wraps up.

“In September, we set an ambitious goal and it is a goal we cannot afford to fail at,” he said. “I am pleased to note that, with a few months left, we’ve just passed the 90 percent total for that goal.

Last year’s special award winners presented the awards to this year’s winners.

The Leadership and Commitment Award was presented to JC Penney, Oswego, for being leaders in educating their employees on the needs of the community and inspiring them to support the United Way.

Certificates of recognition were also awarded to SUNY Oswego and Oswego County Opportunities.

The Company Team of the Year Award went to Robert Rolfe and Pathfinder Bank for volunteers whose extraordinary commitment, energy, enthusiasm and talent contributed to the success of their company’s campaign.

Certificates of recognition were awarded to Oswego City School District and Oswego Health.

Patrick Dewine, of Friendly’s Restaurant, was presented the Company Coordinator of the Year Award. It is given to the campaign coordinators whose enthusiasm and creativity go above and beyond what is expected. Employees respond to their efforts contributing to the success of the campaign.

Certificates of recognition were awarded to Mary Stanton, Phoenix school principal, and Kathy Kintz of Centro.

The Spirit of the Community Award was bestowed on a large group this year – the Stone Soup and Stone Soup, Too! committee members and volunteers from both Oswego and Fulton.

The award is given to volunteers who care and want to make a difference in their community. With support from small business owners and service organizations $7,500 and 10 van loads of food have been distributed to five local food pantries.

Stone Soup, Too! in Fulton is scheduled for March 22 at Holy Trinity Parish, 309 Buffalo St. The luncheon is open to the public and will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For more information or to make donations, call 593-1900.