“Together we will build a stronger Fulton County by mobilizing our comunities to improve people’s lives”. This is the vision statement of the Fulton County United Way. The branch, together with the Healthy Choices Caring Communities, gathered together to host the 2014 Community Awards Celebration Program, honoring volunteers and donors from throughout the county who helped them make this vision statement a reality in the past year.
“I think the event is important to recognize those who worked hard for United Way to have a successful fundraising campaign”, said Fulton County Executive Director Gina Saaf.
Members of the Youth Advisory Council helped serve guests dinner. The Youth Advisory Council or “YAC” is a collection of young people in the community dedicated to making healthy decisions, and not using drugs or tobacco in their lives. Carra Gilson, YAC Co-chair, outlined the purpose of the council. “Within our Youth Advisory Council, we encourage and cultivate the confidence to make responsible and informed decisions, because often in our society, the skills of problem solving and decision making out hindered by what society says is right. Every member of our council has pledged personal abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and further looks for ways to identify how our healthy lifestyle can become a positive influence on our peers.” Later on in the night, Gilson was awarded with the Youth Advisory Council Member of the Year Award for her contributions to advancing the YAC’s goals.
United Way campaign partners from throughout the area were recognized for their advancement of and support of the United Ways ideals and goals, including the City of Wauseon, Four County Family Center, Fulton County, the Fulton County Health Center, Gorham Fayette Schools, Pettisville Local Schools, Wasueon Machine and Manufacturing, and Wauseon Schools.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Jennifer McCullough for her service with the American Red Cross. “She tried as long as she could to get out of it” said Saaf about McCullough, “She kept saying that there had to be someone else who was more deserving, but it was her time, and she truly deserved to receive this award.”
The night was capped off by Keynote speaker Rex Stump. Stump first had the crowd stand up and give themselves a round of applause. “If an athlete makes a game winning shot or scores a touchdown to win the game, the crowd gives them a standing ovation. You are here changing lives and making the lives of others better. I think you should stand up and give yourself a standing ovation.” Stumps then spoke on how the actions of those volunteers in attendance will inspire and help the youth of today turn in to better adults in the future.
In a world where we often feel that the actions of others are self serving, the United Way and its partners are reminders that there is still plenty of good left to go around.
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