Smoulder: Keep Needs of Others in Mind

A guest speaker reminded the Wheeling Rotary Club that, at any given time, there is someone who can use a helping hand.

George Smoulder, executive director of United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, spoke to club members during Tuesday’s meeting at WesBanco Arena.

Throughout his speech, Smoulder emphasized “different people have different needs at different times in their lives.”

According to Smoulder, United Way provides help to those people in need through its many agencies and services, some of which include the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Catholic Charities West Virginia.

For those who doubt their personal connection to United Way, Smoulder noted that the organization affects many.

“You don’t think a United Way agency would touch your life,” Smoulder said. “United Way touches lives without people even recognizing.”

Smoulder described the different types of agencies that comprise the organization, including those related to families, children, health care and seniors.

“More families with children who require housing are approaching agencies,” Smoulder explained.

Smoulder described a story in which a young girl asked Santa for “a new home,” and Santa understood that as a request for a doll house. The girl clarified that her family needed a real house in which to live. Before Christmas, the Salvation Army placed the family in an apartment. Noting that “these stories don’t happen every day,” Smoulder stated the importance of remembering that “some days they do.”

Adding that agencies like Wheeling Health Right provide care to those working people who cannot afford health care, Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA offer programs that help young people become responsible adults, and the YWCA helps people who are victimized, Smoulder looked to the future of United Way’s work. He hopes to bring a grant writer on board for both United Way and other agencies not associated with the organization.

“We are very blessed in this area to have so many agencies,” Smoulder said.