Sandy O’Haver Cared, Made a Big Difference

Editor, News-Register:

Give — Advocate — Volunteer are three words that represent the foundation of what the United Way stands for — and they were the words that were ingrained in the heart and soul of Sandy O’Haver. Sandy worked for the United Way for over 30 years.

Although Sandy was a quiet, private and humble person, she was always ready to advocate for the most vulnerable in our community — and believe me — you would want to be on her side of an issue — because her views were always “well thought out” and Sandy was very articulate.

Titles were meaningless to Sandy. On several occasions, I personally witnessed Sandy trying to find help for individuals who walked into our office at 4:30 or later when most agencies were closed. Sandy would not give up trying to find help for the person until she found some organization that would respond to their needs. Sandy’s efforts not only provided help to others, but (through her example) challenged us to show that same type of kindness and compassion to those who we meet.

In terms of volunteering, Sandy not only recognized how volunteers could help an organization complete a much needed project — but more importantly she recognized the impact it could have on the volunteer herself/himself. In other words, Sandy understood how volunteer activities could sensitize the volunteer about the painful situation that another person was experiencing. She recognized how the activity could open the heart/mind/soul of the volunteer.

It was that awareness that caused Sandy to take a leadership role in helping establish the United Way Day of Caring. Our annual Day of Caring continues to grow. Last year, over 300 volunteers (from different companies in our area) traveled to over 30 social service agencies to complete a variety of different jobs. Because of that commitment, in 2015 the United Way Board of Directors renamed the event the “SANDY O’HAVER DAY OF CARING.”

Last weekend, we learned that Sandy O’Haver made the transition from this world to the next. What influence did she have on the lives of others??? One person wrote me “Sandy’s courage, kindness and compassion led me to the United Way — like a shepherd to a flock. Sandy’s belief and faith gave me the courage to be a strong advocate for my fellow steel workers and the most vulnerable in our community. She always treated each person with respect and dignity,”

Thanks, Sandy, for all the lives that you knowingly or unknowingly touched. I am sure you have already heard the words spoken to you: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant — you have been faithful to Me on a few things — I will make you Master over many — come enter into My kingdom.” Sandy, may God welcome you into God’s heavenly home.

George Smoulder, executive director

United Way of the Upper Ohio Valle