United Way celebrates, hands out awards

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2009

United Way volunteers celebrated raising more than $1.4 million in cash and pledges in the 2008 campaign Thursday night by honoring those with key roles in the combined charity campaign.

The total was 92 percent of the goal, said Barbara Tolliver, the executive director, but still well above average campaigns in communities of the same size.

Awards started off with Blake Teller, the 2008 board chairman, presenting the campaign award to Don Jarratt, the 2008 campaign chairman.

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Teller noted that a tough economy didn’t turn off generosity in Vicksburg. “This community consistently ranked in the top three nationally in per-capita for money raising. For our size community, it’s something to be proud of,” Teller said.

And the newly elected board chairman, Todd Boolos, noted there may be tougher days ahead. “In this economy, there are more people in need of help,” he said. “We need to continue to pull together.”

Forbes Grogan, vice president of BancorpSouth, was tapped as the 2008 United Way volunteer of the year.

The Spirit of Vicksburg Award went to International Paper. The company’s Vicksburg mill was shuttered for months after an explosion, but employees kept their commitments to the United Way, raising $28,000.

This year’s recipients of the Bruce Alan Ebersole Jr. Memorial Scholarship went to two Vicksburg High School students, Julianna Jones and Brytnee Johnson, who each received a $500 scholarship.

Also during the banquet, the 2008 Leadership Award was given to Donna Ingram.

Other award winners were:

* Artis Williams, Campaign Coordinator of the Year

* Entergy Operations, Traveling Leadership Award

* Chris Chatham, Donor Investment Chair

* J.R. Armstrong, Donor Investment Volunteer of the Year

* Don Brown, Agency Director of the Year

* Trustmark Bank, Corporation of the Year

A national organization, United Way operates through local chapters that fund local needs. Money is collected through payroll deductions at participating employers and through private and corporate donations. A volunteer board then screens applications and distributes the money. There are 22 agencies in Vicksburg that will share in the $1.4 million.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at mchanprasith@vicksburgpost.com.