Craig Laughlin of Dover received the top honor of the Vic Marsh Service Award during the United Way of Tuscarawas County's 76th-annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony. (Submitted)
New Philadelphia, Ohio - The United Way of Tuscarawas County officials are thanking volunteers and supporters for another successful year of community giving.
The organization wrapped up its 76th annual fundraising campaign Thursday with its annual awards luncheon the Schoenbrunn Conference Center in New Philadelphia.
Campaign Co-Chair Chris Lane said they were able to raise nearly $563,000 over the course of this year's campaign to support local health and human services programs.
“That’s a 3 percent increase versus the year before,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to get, but it’s so humbling and honoring to see that number come and just keep coming and going, and you just don’t wonder about the dollars. You wonder about the opportunities those dollars are going to fill.”
Lane said this feat would not have been possible without help from an army of volunteers and supporters.
“Every one of us has made a personal choice to contribute, whether that’s time, talents, treasures, to make a difference and make our community a little bit more excellent than it was the day before,” he said. “I can’t say thank you enough.”
United Way President and CEO Robin Waltz shared how last year’s campaign dollars were used to support 20 local health and human services programs and provide direct emergency assistance to 260 Tuscarawas County residents:
“The rent and mortgage assistance vouchers assisted 127 individuals to retain housing, and the utility vouchers assisted 118 individuals in avoiding disconnection. We also expanded our voucher program for at-risk youth, who many are in the foster care program, and we were able to assist 21 children last year.”
The organization also provided $30,000 in assistance this past year through its special grants program. Waltz said the programs and organizations benefiting from those dollars include Tuscarawas County Children and Family First Council, Volunteer Connect FAir, Healthy Kids Day, HealthyTusc for the Community Needs Assessment, TuscoBus, Norma Johnson Center, Twin Cities Kids Coalition, Tuscarawas County Health Department’s Community Baby Shower, Personal & Family Counseling’s Help Me Grow Program.
Outgoing United Way Board Chairman Paul McEwin shared some of the highlights of the past year:
“This year, we again held the Stuff the Bus event to benefit HARCATUS Headstart. This event raised over $10,000. We expanded our Day of Caring Activities to involve 140 volunteers and nine area businesses at 18 local sites. We held several financial prosperity workshops and will be conducting free tax preparation clinics this year.”
The organization also used the opportunity to announce its 2019 board chair and campaign leaders. The 2018 campaign vice-chair, Jennifer Jones of Aultman Hospital, was tapped to head up the fundraising campaign, while McEwan passed the board chairman’s role and honorary gavel on to Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell.
Campbell said he’s proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish during his time on the board of trustees and honored to step into the leadership role.
”Ninety-nine percent of that money stays right here, and we get it in the hands of kids who are abused and people who need housing when they’re fleeing from domestic violence. I see it. Big Brothers Big Sisters, what’s a more worthy cause than mentoring, right? That is absolutely what we need. I have never been more proud to be a part of a board in my life,” he said.
The other officers chosen for 2019 are Vice-Chair Gail Houglan (Allied Machine & Engineering); Treasurer Marty Merryman (First National Bank of Dennison); Secretary Bob Alsept (Buckeye Career Center). Trustees elected for a new three-year term are Bob Alsept (Buckeye Career Center); Mayor Pat Cadle (Village of Newcomerstown); Jennifer Clark (Geib Funeral Homes and Crematory); Jack Dooling (DoverPhila Federal Credit Union); and Kristin Zemis (community volunteer).
Awards were also presented during the ceremony to the individuals, businesses and organizations whose generous contributions have helped the organization achieve its ambitious mission. This year’s top honor of the Vic Marsh Service Award went to Craig Laughlin of Dover for his outstanding dedication and commitment to the United Way and the community.
Laughlin is a long-time United Way volunteer, past board chair and vice-chair and former division leader for the organization’s Community Impact Committee. He has also served in leadership roles with the boards of Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, Community Mental Healthcare, Moravian Ministries Foundation, First Moravian Church, Union Hospital Community Health Foundation.
Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital CEO Bruce James presented Laughlin with the award and shared a few words about his character.
“He doesn’t turn his back when you come out and ask him. He’s always there and he’s always available,” James said.
Laughlin thanked the board for the honor and extended his gratitude for everyone who works year-round to support this worthy cause.
“These folks work hard and all the volunteers work hard, and it couldn’t be for a better cause, helping Tuscarawas County,” he said.
Others recognized during the event included: