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United Way Salutes Its Volunteers

OSWEGO, NY – A large crowd braved the impending snowstorm Wednesday to help the United Way of Greater Oswego County honor its legions of volunteers.

The organization’s 76th annual meeting and salute to volunteers was held at The American Foundry.

Kathy Fenlon, United Way board president, thanks everyone who helped make this year's campaign a success.
Kathy Fenlon, United Way board president, thanks everyone who helped make this year’s campaign a success.

“This is our opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to all of the dedicated, hard-working individuals in our community that work together to make the 2013- 2014 United Way campaign such a success,” said Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County. “It is an honor to recognize all of you. I want to personally thank you for all your efforts this past year.”

Their efforts have helped seniors maintain their independance, helped youth develop to their full potential, assisted special needs residents and strengthened families, Trexler said.

“It is indeed our community, and, it is personal to us and all of you,” she said. “I thank you for your selfless involvement in our common cause. Your dedication is truly an inspiration.”

Kathy Fenlon, United Way board president, cited the United Way’s staff, board of directors and legion of volunteers for all they have done to improve the quality of life all over the county.

As her tenure as president winds down, Fenlon said the experience has been enlightening.

“I have reall gained a deeper perspective of Oswego County and the tremendous impact that the United Way of Greater Oswego County has on our community,” she said.

The 2013-14 campaign has proved to be really difficult, she said.

“Everyone in our community, families, individuals, small businesses and corporations are dealing with the reality of the current economic situation,” she pointed out. “In spite of this, we were able to meet the challenge and achieve some positive results.”

“Today, we are really here to thank and pay tribute to everyone of you, the many citizens throughout our county who have made significant contributions to this year’s United Way campaign,” said campaign chair Robert Rolfe.

“We all have (individual) challenges. Our county has stood up, and all of you have collaborated and create an environment where we have been successful in raising funds and we have made this the fabric of our community,” he said. “But, when it’s personal, we take it to the heart. We did it again this year. When we make a choice to make things better, it’s personal.”

Rolfe presented the Community Volunteer Award to SUNY Oswego student Allain Daigle for creating this year’s video.

Campaign Cabinet Committee member Dick Delany presented the Company Team of the Year Award to Tops Friendly Markets.

Campaign Cabinet Committee member Terry Syrell of CENG presented the Outstanding Special Event of the Year Ward to the chiropractic “Patient Appreciation Day” – Dr. Richard Tesoriero, chair.

Campaign Cabinet Committee member Brian Finn of Entergy presented this Spirit of the Community Award to the Richard S. Shineman Foundation – Lauren Pistell executive director.

The award is given to volunteers who care and want to make a difference in their community.

During her recent travels, Pistell saw a security sign that said: See Something – Say Something.

That also applies to the United Way, she said. Members have seen needs around the county and they have done something, she added.

“Everyone here today is here for one reason; because you see something and you do something, because you care deeply about the future of the place you call home,” she said. “You believe in the mission of the United Way to mobilize this comunity to give, volunteer and raise awareness of basic human needs. For you, this is your community and it is personal.”

She cited several examples of people who have seen a need and done someting, including Barb Bateman, the 2013 winner of the Spirit Award, and a hard act to follow, Pistell added.

“You are doing something,” she told the audience. “This is the spirit of the Oswego community, a community that does not silently stand by when they see a need. This is who you are. When you see soemthing, you do something. I urge you to continue to answer this call.”

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