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United Way Volunteers Make the Difference

WHEELING — More than 60 volunteers from all walks of life are in the process of deciding how the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley Campaign dollars will be spent.

The five Allocations Panels each are visiting their assigned United Way agencies to hear budget requests and learn how the agencies are serving their clients. Upon the completion of the visits, the panel members will make their recommendations to the Allocation Executive Committee. That group will then review the information and make its recommendations to the volunteer United Way board of directors for its final decision on how the campaign proceeds will be distributed.

During a recent orientation session held at the Riesbeck Food Markets corporate headquarters in St. Clairsville, Bill Wagner of WesBanco, allocations chair, welcomed the volunteers and thanked them for their service, and thanked their employers for enabling their participation. The group is split closely between half returning members, and half first-time participants. Several United Way board members also are taking part.

“You will find this is a very meaningful process,” Wagner said. “You will gain a greater appreciation of what goes on in the community.”

Wagner said the panels will be able to appreciate the work the agencies do in the community, all the while making the most of every dollar each receives.

“You’ll also find that this is one of the hardest things to do — give away this money,” he said. “It will be a very difficult decision. But if you really like what you see when you visit your agencies, think about volunteering for that agency. Get to know it better. Or, if you really like what we’re doing with the United Way, consider getting involved.”

George Smoulder, United Way executive director, also thanked the volunteers, as well as Riesbeck’s for hosting the group.

“Sometimes we can have a tremendous impact on the lives of another,” he said. “You will have an impact on the lives of individuals and families. You’ll see the needs of the agencies, and your responsibility is to make a decision about how much each will get.”

First-time volunteer Susan Nolte, who works in the human resources department of Ohio County Schools, said her boss, who supports community involvement, encouraged her to take part.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to help the multiple agencies in the area,” she said.

Emily Freeman of Raymond James Financial Services, is joining the group for the third time.

“I enjoy getting to know what the agencies do,” she said. “I’ve become a volunteer for Youth Services System as a mentor after getting to know about the agency. Serving on Allocations is a good way to give back and to learn what goes on in the community.”

Sharon DaRe of American Electric Power, another veteran member, is serving as a panel co-chair.

“I take serving on the Allocations Panel very seriously,” she said.“It’s very, very important process. I enjoy the visits to the agencies. You get a clear understanding of their mission and goals. It is a learning experience and a very rewarding experience to see the good work that takes place in our valley.”

Those serving on the panels and their employers are:

Panel A: Julia Bachmann, Ohio County Public Library; Jodi Zusack, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, co-chairs; Joelle Connors, AEP; Emily Freeman, Raymond James Financial Services; Michael Gallaway, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC; Brenda Gessler, WTRF; Jennifer Johnson, The Health Plan; Brooke Justice, WesBanco; Raquel McLeod, Ohio County Schools; Christine Mitchell, Dominion; Lisa More, Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley; Susan Nolte, Ohio County Schools; Donald Stenger, AAA East Central; Mark Woodyear, Axiall/Westlake;

Panel B: Rodney Haley, Oglebay Resort & Conference Center; Debbie Romaine, Wheeling Hospital, co-chairs; Lee Blundon, WesBanco; Darcy Clark, Cabela’s, Inc.; Eric Fithyan, Chambers & James Funeral Homes; Carol Loew, The Cornerstone Group; Steven D. Martino, AXA; Matthew Matteson, Eagle Manufacturing Co.

Panel C: Pamela Loges, Riesbeck Food Markets; Jim Matysiak, Ohio Coatings Co., co-chairs; Monica Bertrand, Walmart #2199; Debbie Bloomfield, Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley; Anna Mae Kuhayda, Northwood Health Systems; Kathleen McDermott, McKinley Carter Wealth Services; Lindsey McGlaughlin, Williams Lea; Bryan Minor, Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston; Nicole Palmer, H&R Block Advisors; Richard Silverio Jr., Belmont Savings Bank; Erikka Storch, Wheeling Chamber of Commerce; Darlene Stuckey, The Health Plan; Paula J. Zavacky, Walmart #2199;

Panel D: Sharon West DaRe, AEP; Bill Childers, West Liberty University, co-chairs; Stella M. Bryan, Home Base Inc.; Jeff Correll, Axiall/Westlake; David Hacker, Riesbeck Food Markets; Karen Haught, The Seeing Hand Association; Devon Hepburn, WesBanco; Karin Janiszewski, OVMC/EORH; Lori McGlumphy; Michelle Poland, The Health Plan; Mark Sliter, Catholic Charities WV; Richard Steele, Steel Insurance Associates; Ryan Vitek, FirstEnergy;

Panel E: Chuck George, AEP Cardinal Plant; Andy Walters, IUPAT District Council 53, co-chairs; Lynn Deaton, The Health Plan; Whitney Deemer, The Citizens Bank; MaryLu Hutchins, Carnegie Mellon University; Aaron D. Litman; AEP; Nicole Paulus, the Ziegenfelder Co.; Kathy Phillips, AEP; Melissa Sadlowski, AEP-Cardinal Plant; Bradley K. Shafer, Swartz Campbell LLC; Casey Tominack, Williams Companies; Dee Zombotti, Williams.

For more information about the United Way, to make a donation, or volunteer, log on to www.unitedwayuov.org, or call 304-232-4625.

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