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Saying thank you
United Way shows appreciation for businesses, agencies
new deh united way pacesetter pic web
Pictured are the various award recipients at the United Way of Central Kansas Pacesetter Luncheon Tuesday afternoon at the Best Western Courtyard. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

It was Gaila Demel’s first United Way of Central Kansas Pacesetter luncheon as the UWCK’s new executive director. But, having worked at a non-profit supported by United Way funds, she understood the importance of the event Tuesday afternoon.

“We have a lot to celebrate,” she told the crowd of business leaders and agency representatives gathered in the Best Western Angus Inn Courtyard. “I am inspired. This is an exciting day.”

The Pacesetter businesses are the top 15 payroll contributors. For the 2017 campaign, these businesses kicked in $135,000, or 49 percent of the $275,000 goal.

“The United Way of Central Kansas family is grateful to the group gathered here today,” said Demel, who came to UWCK after serving as director of ElderCare. “Without your commitment, generosity and willingness, we would not be able to support the community agencies that we do.”

Among these 15 donors for last year’s effort, there were several special awards given during the third-annual Pacesetter luncheon.

• The top three Pacesetters were: Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball – bronze; the Dillon’s stores in Great Bend and Larned – silver; and CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions – gold.

• The top three per-capita were: Northern Natural Gas, Bushton – bronze; Spectrum Certified Public Accountants – silver; and ABBB – gold.

• The other Pacesetters included: Farmers Bank and Trust, Fuller Industries; Great Bnd Co-op, Great Bend Regional Hospital; Marmie Motors, Midwest Energy; Straub International; Sunflower Electric Power Corp.; Superior Essex; and Unified School District 428.

In addition, other honors included: Heart of Kansas Family Health Care, Outstanding New Workplace Campaign; Hoisington Dispatch, Media Award; Credit Union of America, Highest percent increase; and Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.

There were also presentations by Cole a Reif on the UWCK Dolly Parton Imagination Library (that supplies free books to kids through age 5) and Diane Call on Stuff the Bus (which collects supplemental items, such as paper and toiletries, for UWCK agencies).

The UWCK 2018 campaign co-chairs are Chris and Nancy Baird, Randy and Debbie Deutsch and Eeric and Tiffany Schoendaler. Executive Board members include President Desa Marmie-Behr, Vice-president Mark Mingenback, Secretary Becca Maxwell and Treasurer John Cross.

UWCK covers all of Barton and Pawnee counties. It supports 23 agencies, and supports programs like Stuff the Bus, Boxes of Love, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Literacy Kits for all pre-kindergartners, Reality U and Crunch Out Obesity.

Demel took over in May for Julie Bugner-Smith. In June, Bugner-Smith became the foundation development coordinator at Pawnee Valley Community Hospital in Larned.