ROCK SPRINGS– United Way of Southwest Wyoming (UWSW) hosted their 40th Annual Celebration Event at the Holiday Inn of Rock Springs on May 10th to celebrate their 2018 workplace campaign donors and volunteers.
The theme of the event was “Painting a Brighter Future”, referencing how all United Way donors and volunteers help to make a brighter future for Southwest Wyoming residents.
The evening began with Kelly Frink, Executive Director welcoming guests and thanking the UWSW Board of Directors, employees and volunteers, as well as the Celebration Event sponsors. Genesis Alkali, PacifiCorp Energy, Tata Chemicals and Wyoming Machinery were major sponsors of the event. Other sponsors were Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, City of Rock Springs, and Holiday Inn.
After the initial welcome, Frink introduced Ryan Rust, Director of the Young at Heart Senior Center. Rust gave a presentation about the aging population in Wyoming, and the needs that our senior residents have. Many facts and figures were given on the cost savings of home care versus nursing home care and the importance of home delivered meals.
“The funding Young At Heart receives from the United Way allows us to provide Special Diet Meals and In Home Services to homebound seniors and disabled community members that allows them to remain living in their own home and avoid more costly institutionalization. These funds are also used to provide quality early childhood education at our early learning center,” stated Rust.
Rust also noted that Wyoming has the most rapidly aging population in the United States. Thanks were expressed to the United Way and the local volunteers in Rock Springs for their support of the organization and the good that comes from funding and the hours of work put in.
Game Changer Award
After the presentation by Rust, the Game Changer Award was presented by Ashley Wells, United Way volunteer and Community Solutions Team member. The award was presented to Chelsey Lipka, for her outstanding performance as a United Way volunteer and the coordinator of the annual workplace campaign for the Jim Bridger Power Plant.
Many hours of work and coordination go in to planning a workplace campaign. The Jim Bridger Power Plant campaign increased by $19,780 for a total campaign of $87,255.15.Their campaign participation increased by 9.13% for a total of 74.4% due largely to Lipka’s efforts.
Hand Raiser Awards
Next, Shelley Richno, Community Impact Coordinator for UWSW presented the 2018 Hand Raiser Awards. These two awards were given to outstanding volunteers. Honorees were DAndrea Chichester and Linda Cummings.
Chichester and Cummings were instrumental in the successful start-up and success of the Uinta County Diaper Banks with locations in Evanston and Lyman. They help distribute the diapers, track inventory, and promote the program locally. In their first year of operation, over 10,000 diapers were distributed through the Uinta County Diaper Banks.
Spirit and Excellence Award
UWSW’s Board President, Theresa Thybo, then presented the Spirit and Excellence Awards. The Spirit Award is given to a company’s employees with the highest average donation per donor. The Excellence Award is given to the company and employees that have the highest average donation per total employees when combining the employee pledges with the corporate gift.
For a business with less than 100 employees category, both the Excellence and Spirit Awards were won by Anadarko Petroleum with an average gift of $381 per donor, a participation rate of 87% and when combined with the corporate match, an average donation of $678 per total employees.
For the business with 100 employees or greater category, both the Excellence and Spirit Awards were won by Jim Bridger Power Plant, its employees and Utility Workers Union of America Local 127 with an average donation of $353 per donor, 74% participation, and when combined with the corporate match, an average donation of $525 per total employees.
Live United Award
The final award of the evening was the Live United Award, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Power and presented by Chelsey Lipka, a UWSW volunteer. UWSW Community Partners were invited to nominate a volunteer from their organization, with the winner being announced at the Celebration Event.
“This award is for someone who makes an impact in their community, thinks of others before themselves, is willing to lend a hand, tries to influence the condition of all, opens their heart, uses their voice or lends their muscles to make a difference, gives 110% to their cause, creates opportunities for those in need, and inspires hope. One of our nominees not only met all of the award criteria but is also a prime example of how to Live United,” said Lipka. “The winner of this award is Frank Maes.”
Maes was nominated by Boys & Girls Club of Sweetwater County (BGC). He has been volunteering at BGC for 9 years and puts in over 500 hours each year, saving BGC $115,542. Maes can often be found shoveling their snow, working on repairs around the building, and performing all manners of odd jobs.
According to Lisa Stewart, Executive Director of BGC, “Frank is the most patient, caring and handy person that I’ve ever met. The cool thing about him is that the club is not the only one he helps. He helps his local church as well as many others. I am truly thankful to be able to call him a friend and appreciate everything that he does.”
Along with this award, UWSW awarded $1,000 to BGC in Maes’ honor, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Power.
United Way estimates a total dollar impact of $1,310,047.35 to Sweetwater, Uinta, Lincoln and Sublette counties for 2018. It is estimated that donors pledged $1,012,722.13 to the 2018 workplace campaign, with some pledges still to be determined.
Donations to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library over the past year have raised $27,986.25, and the Community Diaper bank distributed $16,886.88 worth of diapers. Along with these, Helping Had Day volunteers provided $17,984.33 worth of services to the community and families in Southwest Wyoming saved $234,417.76 on prescription medications through FamilyWize, a prescription discount savings card.
According to Frink, “United Way is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, health and basic needs. Our goal is to create long lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place”.
Entertainment was provided by Marcus and Guy’s Musical Impression Show. The show included a comedic mix up of different styles, genres and generations of music along with impersonations and audience participation. This nationally touring duo was given the AEP Las Vegas Rising Stars of the Year award in 2016.
The Celebration Event also featured a silent auction. Funds raised from each silent auction item benefitted a United Way community partner or a United Way program designated by the item donor. The silent auction raised $1,655.00.