United Way recognizes supporters and agencies

VERO BEACH — Each year business, government, non-profit and community leaders gather to honor local companies, volunteers and United Way of Indian River County agencies with the Spirit of Indian River County, Richardson and Agency Excellence Awards.

This 18th Annual United Way Community Leaders Breakfast was a special one, as 2010-2011 marks the 50th Anniversary of the United Way in Indian River County. The event was held at the Oak Harbor Clubhouse and was underwritten and sponsored by Seacoast National Bank; a tradition they have continued since the first Community Leaders Breakfast in 1993.

Following opening remarks by Tom Wilkinson, Treasure Coast President for Seacoast National Bank and Michael Kint, United Way CEO, the 50th Anniversary Co-Chairs, Susan Chenault and Sue Tompkins were introduced.  The pair recognized 50th Anniversary Honorary Chairs, Dan K. Richardson, Alma Lee Loy and Jim Thompson, and noted that since its inception the local United Way has raised and distributed more than $39 million dollars.

The idea to introduce a United Way campaign to Indian River County came as a motion in a 1960 Chamber of Commerce meeting, and is credited to Luke Blume, then Plant Manager for the new but thriving, Piper Aircraft.  Piper Aircraft has been an integral part of United Way campaigns ever since, and in recognition of its long-standing commitment was presented with a 50th Anniversary Heritage Award.  To commemorate their joint histories, the United Way Campaign Kickoff and Victory Celebration will be held at Piper.

The Keynote speaker for the event was Tex Carter, Vice President, Operations for INEOS New Planet BioEnergy Development, a company whose innovative technology is working to convert waste materials into usable ethanol products and power.  The company has purchased the former Oslo Road OceanSpray facility for use as a demonstration plant to show off their breakthrough platforms.

The Vero site will be the first installation of this process anywhere in the world.  Initial plans call for the conversion of vegetative waste into feedstock, with future plans to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil by using waste as a renewable power source.

“We’re really happy about what we’re doing,” said Carter.  “We plan to hire locally, interact locally, and be a part of the community and the United Way.”

His keynote address was followed by the awards program, with UW Awards Committee members Sharon Broome and Chris Bieber making the presentations.

2010 Award Winners:

Richardson Awards: Named after founding President Dan K Richardson, and highlighting the creative and energetic ways businesses embrace the UW mission.

Richardson “Espirit de Vie” Award, for excellence in volunteerism – Northern Trust Bank

Richardson Essence Award, for excellence in community contributions – Rossway Moore & Taylor

Richardson Enterprise Award, for excellence in a companywide United Way employee campaign – CVS Pharmacy

2010 Spirit of Indian River County Awards

Spirit of Indian River County Excellence Award, honoring a small company’s comprehensive commitment to strengthening our community – Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, Graham, PLLC Certified Public Accountants

Spirit of Indian River County Excellence Award, honoring a large company’s comprehensive commitment to strengthening the community – Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Silent Angel Award, for outstanding generosity of time, talent and resources on behalf of a United Way partner agency – Stella Covill for her work with the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA)

Agency Excellence Special Recognition, presented to an agency that demonstrates measurable results and a significant impact on the health and vitality of the community – Safespace

Agency Excellence Award, presented to an agency that demonstrates excellence in achieving measurable results and who has made an impact on the community in their reach and vision – Gifford Youth Activity Center

The 2010/11 United Way campaign co-chairs, Melissa Medlock and Michael Kmetz were introduced just prior to the conclusion of the breakfast.

“We have to get creative with the fundraising,” said Kmetz. “The 50th Anniversary should give us some great opportunities and we have some other things in the works.”

“It’s all about the community,” added Kint.  “We’ve got a lot of talented people; I think we’re going to have a great campaign.”  {igallery 262}

Related Articles

Leave a Comment