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UWCK hits 2016 goal
new deh united way goal reached pic
The United Way of Central Kansas has met its goal for the 2016 campaign. Pictured left to right in front the thermometer at Main and Broadway Friday morning are Kevyn Soupiset, Brian Staats, Paula Mauler, Charell Owings, UWCK Executive Director Julie Bugner-Smith, Erika Brining, Cole Reif, Regan Reif and Desa Behr. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

 United way of Central Kansas has reached its goal of $275,000 for the 2016 Campaign, UWCK Executive Director Julie Bugner-Smith said Friday.

It has been a busy year with the duck race in larned, hot dog feed this summer and other activities. But it was in August when the annual campaign officially opened with the Truth, Justice and the United Way event, offering dinner and entertainment.

“It brought the message of super heros in our community to light,” Bugner-Smith said. The kickoff was followed by Stuff the Bus, spearheaded by UWCK Board member Dianne Call. 

The Harlem Ambassadors came to town in September and bringing their anti-bully message with Teen Court to the schools in Barton and Pawnee County. Jim Mayberry hosted the Bowl ‘n One fundraiser that same month. 

The Sidewinders MC club hosted their annual Casino night in November followed by the Holiday Hustle around the city Trail of Lights lights put together by Tanya Staats, Angela Schepmann and Nikki Omenski.

United Way of Central Kansas helps fund 19 agencies, and has brought Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Larned and Ellinwood, Born Learning Trail to Great Bend and Claflin. Its new project will provide literacy kits for preschoolers entering Kindergarten this fall to students in Great Bend, Larned , Ellinwood and Otis Bison schools. United Way also supported the Orphan Grain Train, Helping Hands and the Food Pantry in Larned with a new roof and helped with clean-up after someone broke into their facility.

“Every year United Way tries to implement a Community Impact Project and in the upcoming campaign hope to work with the school districts on the new project,” Bugner-Smith said. United Way has added two new Co-Chairs this year, Young Leaders Cole and Regan Reif, along with Brian and Tanya Staats, Great Bend, Karen and Marvin Sessler from Ellinwood and Kyle and Tamra Beckwith from Larned. These co-chairs not only help with the campaign but also help spread the word in their respective communities.

Board Members are President John Cross, Vice-president Desa Behr, Treasurer Erika Brining, Treasurer Steve Kummer, Tatum Dunekack, Kevyn Soupiset, Mark and Leslie Mingenback, Dianne Call, Tama Hanson, Laura Smith, Jane Fox, Becca Maxwell, Ronda Sjogren, Carol Dema and Ron Smith.

The Pacesetters concept was introduced last year, which recognizes the top 15 givers to United Way of Central Kansas and will continue in the 2017 campaign with Mark Mingenback as the new pacesetter chair.

“The Community has once again seen the need by their own and helped make United Way 2016 campaign a success,” Bugner-Smith said. “These individuals are fighting and supporting volunteerism, decent daycare, cancer, aging, child and domestic abuse, hunger, homelessness, and bullying. These agencies are educating, supporting and uplifting our own. They are true heroes in our community.”