Although the amount pledged was about $27,000 shy of the $505,696 campaign goal, the 2015-16 Sedalia-Pettis County United Way campaign was considered a success by most everyone involved, as evidenced by the multitude of awards handed out at Friday’s annual UW Award Luncheon, held at Best Western, 32nd and Limit.

Campaign Chair Deana Clark, who is also a social worker for Sedalia School District 200, admitted she was a bit hesitant to accept the challenge of that goal a year ago until she was persuaded by the SPCUW Board and the previous year’s campaign chair, John Meehan.

“That’s a very large number and there have been so many successful campaigns in the past that I just didn’t know if I would be able to fill those shoes,” Clark said, “but the more I thought about it, it just really seemed like a good fit,” she said, adding that she ‘s felt like a cheerleader for the agencies she’s worked with over the years.

“I spent a lot of my summer preparing for the campaign and so I’m very thankful for the leadership and guidance that (SPCUW Executive Director) Staci (Harrison) provided. We spent of lot of time every week in her office talking about what is community impact,” Clark recalled.

She added that she is very excited to be a part of community impact, emphasizing the great spirit of collaboration in Sedalia, which is unique to this area. “I work with people all over the state and across the nation, and they were talking about Sedalia and Pettis County, and they said they don’t see the collaboration like we have in other parts of the state,” Clark said.

“While I have been experiencing some anxiety because we haven’t yet made our $505,696 goal, we are very close. Regardless of the amount of money that we raised, I think it was successful because I was able to witness the collaboration that took place in our community,” Clark noted.

Clark later presented a pair of sparkly work boots to incoming Campaign Chair Phillip Mefford, which is a long-standing tradition in the SPCUW. “I have no doubt that Phillip is going to be able to fill them, because he done a phenomenal job as a division chair for industry,” Clark stated.

Mark Hirshberg, 2016 United Way president, said Mefford will do a great job, but has “tough shoes to fill.”

“I’m excited to work with a great Pettis County team and it’s a great opportunity with everyone giving back. I put a lot of thought into it and General Cable was very supportive of it,” Mefford said after the luncheon.

Mefford, who works at General Cable and is a lifelong resident of Pettis County, said the campaign chair position will give him a chance to give back to his community. He noted that 94 cents of every dollar given to United Way stays in Pettis County to support servces directly. Mefford has served on the SPCUW board for about four years and has been active in previous UW campaigns for literally decades.

Harrison noted that she felt the 2015-16 fund drive was very successful, but the six-month campaign, while technically over, will still generate more cash. “I think we’re still going to be able to make goal. We have workplace campaigns that will be taking place in the month of March, so I’m really looking forward to seeing us close the gap,” she said. “This room was packed with people who have passion for their community, and that’s why we’re successful.”

Most of the campaign’s divisions came very close to meeting their goal. “It was a combination of the divisions working together to get where we are now,” Harrison noted.

As for Mefford’s selection for the new campaign chair, she said she has been working with him since July, “Because I knew the campaign chair (position) was going to be a hard role to fill. But once the person realizes they’re not all by their self, and that they’ve got a team of people behind them, they will be very successful. And so Phillip finally gave in and said yes,” Harrison smiled.

Paul Dick, who served as co-chair of the Professional Division and as 2015 United Way president, noted that as far as getting everyone together on the same page, “we really focused on raising money for the community. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Deanna and the rest of the team did a fantastic job,” Dick told KSIS. He added that the UW is moving towards more year-round fund-raising. “We want to bring in funds all the time, and more importantly, focus on change in the community, really taking it to a new direction from a standpoint of measurable outcome,” he indicated. “I’m excited about next year, too.

Certainly this year we came up a little bit short, but we’ve got a campaign scheduled in a couple of weeks, actually.” Dick will continue to serve as past president and on the executive board. “From a president’s standpoint, I had a great experience,” he concluded.

During the luncheon, nearly 40 local entities were recognized with United Way’s Gold Award. Gold Awards are given to companies or organizations who gave $1,000 or more to the campaign. Collectively, they gave more than $420,875 to the 2015-16 campaign. Gold Award recipients included:

Bothwell Regional Health Center, Boys & Girls Club, Callis & Assoc., Central Bank of Sedalia, City of Sedalia, County Distributing, Ditzfeld Transfer, Duke Manufacturing, Empire Gas, Fischer Concrete, Foley Equipment, Gardner Denver, General Cable (Alcan Cable), Heritage Fabrication, Katy Trail Community Health, KCP&L, KOHL’s, Lamm Tech, Maxion Wheels, Mazzio’s, Pettis County Government, Pittsburgh Corning, PrintLynx, ProEnergy Services, Rick Ball Ford, Sedalia Public Schools, Septagon Construction, SFCC, Simmons Bank, SMC Electric, Smithton R-VI, Starline Inc., Tyson Foods Employees, Union Pacific, UPS, US Bank, Waterloo Industries, WireCo World Group and W-K Chevrolet.

Special awards were presented to Terri Paul and John Meehan.

Paul has served the SPCUW for four years. “Terri takes her role as a Board member very seriously and is dedicated to the mission of the Sedalia Pettis County United Way. It is very common to see Terri Paul in the UW office processing mail, at all the Board Meetings, helping out at the truck-load sale and keeping up with the residential mailings,” said Dick.

Meehan has served the SPCUW 10 years. “Anyone who knows John, knows he brings a ray of sunshine into the room. You can find John at all of the SPCUW events and is typically the ‘Cheer Master’ to keep energy levels high and an eye on the purpose of the event. He goes above and beyond the call of duty. This year, many have enjoyed the experience of riding in or observing his one-ton green truck through SPCUW participating events such as the Sedalia 200 and Sacred Heart parades, and the 2015 Day of Caring,” Dick said.

It was noted that the award is not given on a regular basis, but is reserved for exceptional service to the SPCUW.

Brad Pollitt, Charli Ackerman and Tammy Rucker were recognized for their service to the SPCUW board.

Division chairs for the 2015-16 campaign included Phillip Mefford and Ben McFarlin (Industry); Nick Smith, Dennis Scholl, Tammi Kreisel. Ray Smith and Matt LaCasse (Business); Paul Dick and Polly Grapes (Professional); Terri Paul and John Meehan (Residential); Dave Clippert and Deidre Esquivel (Education); JoAnn Martin and Julie Slocum (Government); Deanna Clark (Agency).

Megan Hartman and Kevin Webb were appointed to three-year terms, while Barry Henderson was named a presidential appointee for a one-year term.

Outstanding Performance Awards were presented to Gardner-Denver in the Industrial Division, and Smithton R-6 School in the Education Division.

Callis and Associates, Child Safe, and US Band were recognized with 100 Percent Employee Participation Awards.

The UW’s Spirit Award went to Pittsburg Corning for going above and beyond in this year’s campaign.

Tyson Foods, Inc., scored the Highest Giving Award with $85,527.50 in contributions.
Pro Energy won the award for Highest Per Capita Giving with $52,434 in employee gifts.

Chad Puckett, Show-Me Christian Youth Home, was recognized for helping develop the 2015-16 campaign logo, as well as the printing of the residential and workplace campaign letters.

The United Way’s “Speaker’s Bureau” was recognized, also. The Bureau consisted of Jack Menges, Kay Sparks, Mary Beatty, Brenda Moore, Mary Jo Sartin, Chris Ruhkne, Matt Meyer, Kimberly Allen, Dennis Pearson, Jill Haney, Bill Riek, Chris Stewart, Paul Dick, Dennis Scholl, Janet Bice, Dr. Brent Bates, John Meehan and Nick Smith.

KSIS, KSDL & KXKX Radio, KDRO & KPOW Radio, The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia Weekly Observer and Sedalia Outdoor Advertising were all recognized for their support of the UW’s “United for Impact” campaign.

According to Harrison, United Way has 20 funded partners in 2016 that they will be supporting financially.

The Civil Air Patrol posted the Colors at the beginning of the annual event.