02/25/11 — United Way honors volunteers, officially finishes campaign

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United Way honors volunteers, officially finishes campaign

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on February 25, 2011 1:46 PM

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Judy Pelt, right, was named the recipient of the Emil Rosenthal Award by United Way of Wayne County for being the organization's volunteer of the year. She is shown with Bob Logan, chairman of the board of United Way and last year's recipient of the award.

Judy Pelt was named the recipient of the Emil Rosenthal Award by the United Way of Wayne County at the organization's annual meeting Thursday at the Lane Tree Golf Club.

The award honors United Way's volunteer of the year. Ms. Pelt was selected for her drive and determination to help promote United Way during 2010 and for many years prior to that, said Bob Logan, chairman of United Way's board of directors and the winner of the award last year.

"She's done a tremendous job for us," Logan said. "She is the epitome of a United Way volunteer." Logan pointed to the "countless hours" Mrs. Pelt contributed to United Way and her "valuable insight" into its programs, goals and problems. He called her "a community superhero," alluding to the superhero-themed campaign United Way put on this past year.

"United Way is something I truly believe in," Mrs. Pelt said. "This is a real honor. I didn't expect this."

Mrs. Pelt retired as director of the Wayne County Department of Social Services and has since been active at Cherry Hospital. She is a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, given by the governor for outstanding service to North Carolina.

United Way also gave a new award this year, the Campaign Coordinator of the Year, to Sentry Insurance, for its exceptional contributions to the past year's campaign.

Six organizations were recognized with the Campaign Chairman Award for leading the way during the 2010 fund-raising drive. They were Anchor Coupling, AT&T Call Center, Turner Equipment Co., Southco Distributing Co., Cooper-Bussman and Tommy's Road Elementary School. All saw the percentage of contributions from their employees increase dramatically.

The winners of the Bush Andrews Award, for companies who had at least 80 percent of their employees contribute their fair share, were Turner Equipment Co. and United Way.

Frema Motors Co. also was recognized for its work during the campaign. Lyn Williams of Mt. Olive Pickle Co., who served as the 2010 campaign leader, called Frema "a true United Way superhero."

Media awards were presented to Curtis Media Group and The News-Argus.

Although the campaign reached only 88 percent of its $1.4 million goal, Mrs. Williams said those companies, organizations and individuals who contributed still have "plenty to be proud of," she said. The money raised will help improve the lives of more than 25,000 Wayne County residents, she noted.

Because of the shortfall, some organizations that depend on United Way for funding will receive less money that in previous years, said the Rev. Drew Clark of First Presbyterian Church, another leader in the campaign.

Clark explained how decisions were made by the United Way board regarding the money raised and how it was to be allocated and said United Way must continue to be proactive in its efforts to aid the agencies and organizations it supports.

"Our mission to help people take care of one another," Clark said. He admitted that falling short of the goal would hurt some groups but added that "It's always easier to grow grass than to pull weeds. Let's look at this from that perspective."

Logan said that despite a weakened economy, the United Way would again try in 2011 to raise enough money to bring its ability to support agencies such as the Red Cross and the Boys and Girls Club back to previous levels.

"I look forward to making 2011 the best year for us yet," he said. "We have a great board of directors and what we need to do is re-ignite the flame. I challenge you to help us encourage those who sit on the sideline to get into the game."