United Way honors those who helped with the campaign

MIDDLEBURY — More than 60 community members attended the United Way of Addison County’s Community Celebration, hosted by Jessica’s Restaurant and the Swift House Inn on May 4.
The event in the beautiful setting and with food provided by inn owners Dan and Michele Brown celebrated businesses, donors, and volunteers who make a difference in Addison County through their participation in the United Way campaign and in their community.
UWAC recognized hard work and said goodbye to outgoing board President Ron Hallman, and campaign Co-Chairs Ira and Linda Schiffer.
This year’s Dine the United Way fundraising program broke all records raising $5,519.81. This was accomplished by restaurants who have participated for many years as well as some new ones. Restaurants that took part by donating a portion of sales on a given night included veterans of more than 20 years in the program Fire & Ice, Mary’s at Baldwin Creek, Green Peppers, Morgan’s Tavern at Middlebury Inn, and Jessica’s at the Swift House Inn. Other restaurants included Storm Café, Mister Ups, Stone Leaf Teahouse, Daily Chocolate and Bobcat Café — plus newcomer Hatch 31 in Bristol.
UWAC introduced some fun new awards this year. The Movers and Shakers Award for creative approach to participating in the campaign went to the Starksboro Co-operative Preschool, and Counseling Service of Addison County. The Best Special Event Award went to WVTK radio and Ken Gilbert for their live on-air Hannaford Holiday Food Drive. The Best Volunteer Effort Award went to Middlebury Fitness and Jerrod Rushton for their all staff participation on SPIN United. The Campaign Partner of the Year Award went to the Addison Independent for all around support of UWAC’s work and the mission to make Addison County a better place for all.
UTC Aerospace walked away with three awards this year. Coordinator of the Year went to Erin Wollam-Berens for her work on the UTC campaign, which included coordinating the payroll campaign, running mini-events, a bike building competition, and all the follow up that goes with these projects. They also won the Life of the Party Award for their bike building competition, which took place on site. The correctly completed bikes were then donated to some very happy recipients at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vergennes.
The last award was the Live United Award, given to both UTC and to Jan Phelps and Hannaford Food and Pharmacy. This award celebrates businesses who participate in the trifecta of Giving, Advocating, and Volunteering in the United Way campaign. This is a repeat win for Hannaford as they have truly taken up the community partner mantra for UWAC and for many other organizations in Addison County.
Volunteers participating in United Way’s Community Impact Funding process were recognized by UWAC Executive Director Kate McGowan for their work in reading grants, visiting local non-profits, and making funding decisions for the monies raised by the community this past year.
UWAC introduced and shared the future plans of a new program called H.E.L.P., or Heroin Epidemic Learning Program. This program began as the brainchild of local community member Jeremy Holm and was brought to fruition by Holm and Jesse Brooks, regional prevention program coordinator. The program took place in all three local high schools and included education from medical, law-enforcement and other professional in the field and culminated in the creation of 10 Public Service Announcements for a competition in which one winner will be announced on May 22 in Bristol.
The evening culminated with the awarding of the Senior High School Volunteer Scholarship Award. As in past years, high school seniors were recognized for their work in the community. These students are nominated by the community for recognition for a special project or body of work. Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the winner(s) of the Senior High Volunteer Scholarship Award comes with a $1,500 scholarship to be used for ongoing education. This year’s winner was Victor Hinojosa from Bristol. He was nominated by Kerry Kurt of Unbound Grace in Starksboro. Hinojosa has been accepted at Norwich University and will be attending in the fall.
A terrific evening was had by all and United Way of Addison County is thankful to all participants in this year’s campaign whether they were able to attend the event or not.

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