United Way has record-breaking campaign

United Way has record-breaking campaign

Image Credit: Submitted

The United Way of Tuscarawas County celebrated the conclusion of its 79th annual fundraising campaign with a virtual awards ceremony sponsored by Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital. Dr. Brad Bielski, dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State Tuscarawas and 2021 United Way campaign chair, announced a record-breaking campaign for the second year in a row with a total of $611,564.80.

“This is an amazing total. I was thrilled to get a phone call from Robin Waltz just a few days ago informing me that we reached a new high. I believe that people give to a great cause and to organizations with outstanding leadership,” Bielski said. “Thank you to our board members and volunteers for making this campaign successful and, especially, a thank you to all who gave to help the United Way help our neighbors.”

Robin Waltz, president/CEO of UWTC, said, “Our community campaign will provide funding to 18 area health and human service programs and special grants focusing on building a sustainable community. We have continued to administer the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. To date almost $100,000 has been distributed to trusted local partner agencies and organizations offering crucial support such as utility assistance, food vulnerability, housing assistance and mental-health needs.”

Waltz also said over 1,600 tax returns were completed free of charge to county residents and over 27,000 free books were delivered to Tuscarawas County children through the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library in 2021.

Bruce James, a community volunteer, recently retired as president of Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital and will serve as campaign chair for the 2022 campaign after assisting Bielski this past year.

The awards ceremony began with recognition of the volunteers serving on the 2021 campaign team. Those volunteers included Tammy Curry, DoverPhila Federal Credit Union; Darlene Finzer, Rea & Associates; Bruce James, community volunteer; Jennifer Jones, Aultman Health Systems; Michele Lieser, McInturf Realty; Bonnie Schrock, Andreas Furniture; Jeanne Stephen, Tuscarawas County Clerk of Courts; Elizabeth Stephenson, Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas; Agnes Swigart, community volunteer; Elaine Tedrow, The Commercial & Savings Bank; and Andrew Wright, Hanhart Agency.

A number of local companies and organizations were presented with awards for their contributions to the 2021 campaign. Leadership Circle Awards were announced for the businesses and organizations with outstanding overall employee and corporate giving.

These included Adventure Harley-Davidson, Allied Machine & Engineering, Andreas Furniture, Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, Complete Hydraulic Service, Dominion Energy Ohio, Dover Chemical, Dover Hydraulics Inc., DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, Family Office Equipment, First Federal Community Bank, First National Bank of Dennison, Gradall, Huntington National Bank, L.J. Smith Inc., McInturf Realty, Metal Masters Inc., New Philadelphia City Schools, Newton Asphalt Paving Inc., Parkway Auto Group, R & J Cylinder & Machine, Rea & Associates, Society for Equal Access, I.L.C., Superior Clay, Timken, Troyer & Associates, Tuscarawas County Probate and Juvenile Court, Tusco Display, Unified Bank, and United Parcel Service.

President’s Award recipients recorded a 10% increase in giving. These included AAA of Tuscarawas County, Adventure Harley-Davidson, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio, Buckeye Career Center, Claymont City Schools, Complete Hydraulic Service, Dover City Schools, Gradall, Garaway Local Schools, Indian Valley Local Schools, Kennedy Insurance, Kent State University Tuscarawas, McInturf Realty, Metal Masters Inc., New Philadelphia City Schools, Newton Asphalt Paving Inc., Northern Ohio Peterbilt/Ohio CAT, Parkway Auto Group, PNC Bank, Rea & Associates, Strasburg-Franklin Local Schools, Superior Clay, Toland-Herzig Funeral Homes & Crematory, Tuscarawas County Probate and Juvenile Court, Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools, Tuscarawas County YMCA, United Parcel Service, and Walmart Store #2115.

The Pioneer Award, recognition to a business or organization for showing commitment to the community by holding their first United Way campaign, was presented to Kraton and Plymouth Foam Inc.

The Media Awards recognized area media partners for their contribution to the community and the United Way. These included WJER Radio, WTUZ Radio, The Bargain Hunter - Tuscarawas County, The Budget, Reber Video, The Times Reporter and The Tuscarawas County Broadcasting Company - WBTC.

The final award was the Vic Marsh Annual Service Award to Jeff Hootman of Dover. Hootman was selected by the United Way Board of Trustees to honor his commitment and dedication to the United Way of Tuscarawas County and the community.

Hootman has supported the United Way for over 40 years, starting as a loaned executive in 1978 while working in Stark County. In Tuscarawas County he has served as a loaned executive, community impact committee member, board chairman and 10 years as a trustee. He chaired his employer’s in-house campaigns for over 15 years, resulting in that organization being one of the top contributors annually to the local campaign.

Hootman has volunteered his services to several area organizations over the years including the Canton Area Chapter of APICS, Dover Jaycees, Dover baseball and softball leagues, YMCA Biddy Basketball, and Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church. He currently serves as the chairman of the City of Dover Planning Commission.

Hootman was born and raised in Dover and is a Dover High School alumnus. He graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in finance. After 30 years he retired from Zimmer Surgical as director of supply chain.

Hootman was married to Jill Kreisher just short of 45 years until her passing in 2019. His family includes son Jeff K. of North Canton, daughter Katie of Dover, daughter Emily and husband Jory Swihart of Dover, and grandsons Kellen and Jack Swihart. He enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, working out at the YMCA, golf and caring for his 115-year-old house.

Waltz said, “He is one of those people who give their time and presence to do something invaluable without expecting anything in return. Thank you again to Jeff for all your years of dedication and support to the United Way and Tuscarawas County.”

The virtual award ceremony can be viewed at www.tuscunitedway.org/campaign.

Call the United Way of Tuscarawas County at 330-343-7772 or visit www.tuscunitedway.org.

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