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United Way 2012 volunteers and supporters honored at luncheon

Apr. 06, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The United Way of the River Cities said "thank you" to some of the investors, volunteers and advocates who supported its initiatives during 2012. The honorees were recognized during "A Celebration of Excellence" luncheon hosted at Savannah's Restaurant on Friday.

Those honored during the event included:

Basic Supply Company, Small Company of the Year: Laura Gilliam, executive director of United Way of the River Cities said the staff and management of the Huntington-based business pledged $460 in 2012 and that every dollar counts.

"They get the idea of United Way and giving back to the community, and not only have they been financially supportive, but through volunteer service as well," Gilliam said.

Bloss and Dillard, Mid-sized Company of the Year: Gilliam said Bloss and Dillard not only pledged $8,300 to United Way initiatives in 2012, but is a company that consistently honors their pledges at 100 percent. They contribute not only through an employee campaign, but corporately as well.

"They've been longtime donors and have a very active workplace campaign. Probably one of the most fun things they do it turn the inside of their office into a Putt-Putt course. They're constantly raising money for United Way and helping with outside fundraising events," Gilliam said. "And, for many years, they've honored their pledges at 100 percent."

Steel of West Virginia/United Steel Workers of America Local 37, Large Company of the Year: For the first time ever, or at least the first time in a long time, Gilliam said a company pledged more than $100,000. Steel of West Virginia/USW Local 37 pledged $104,787.12 for 2012. She said giving to United Way has become the culture for their employees.

"Steel of West Virginia has a new hires program where every time a new employee comes in and is filling out paperwork for payroll and HR, they have a United Way pledge form in there," Gilliam said. "It's part of the culture and one of the reasons I think they've been so successful."

St. Mary's Medical Center, Trendsetter of the Year: With a renewed focus on its workplace campaign that re-energized employees to give, Gilliam said St. Mary's was able to increase its pledges 21 percent from 2011 to 2012, jumping from $69,000 to $88,554.

"One of the things they did was look at how their campaign was running and do some things differently," said Gilliam, highlighting a kick-off event that featured a pie-throwing contest. "I think with St. Mary's, they had really good communication this year and the campaign team really communicated well with department heads and empowered them to better communicate with their employees."

Merle Core, Volunteer of the Year: Describing Core as someone who is always there to help, Gilliam said the longtime volunteer has gone above and beyond in terms of volunteering with the organization.

"He is such a dear man and had been on the board several years already when I started here in 2005," Gilliam said. "He was really involved in the early stages when we were making operational and philosophical changes to the way we address community problems, has done grant reviews, audit during campaign season -- about anything you need Merle to do, he would do."

Stephanie Rigsby of Jenkins Fenstermaker PLLC, Campaign Coordinator of the Year: After several years of a slumping campaign, Gilliam said Rigsby took advantage of the campaign coordinator resources provided by the United Way and proceeded differently on her company's workplace campaign.

"She saw that their campaign had flipped a little and responded to that and wanted to do better, and she did a fantastic job this year," Gilliam said, adding that the business opted to make United Way contributions in their clients' names instead of purchasing Christmas baskets. "It was another example of someone who thought, 'Let's do this a little differently this year,' and their numbers went up as a result of her hard work."

Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.