United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties trains 45 Loaned Executives

Special to The Log

Bob Hope Village in Shalimar hosted 45 executives on loan from local businesses July 28 and 29 as they began their campaign representative duties for the 2015 United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties Campaign.

“I once was a Loaned Executive (LE) and it can be both a fun and challenging experience,” said Betty Brassell, vice president with First City Bank and 2015 United Way Campaign Chair. “As a United Way LE, you learn a lot about your community and about yourself but most importantly, you quickly realize you’re working on behalf of every Okaloosa and Walton County resident to help fund more than 40 critical health and human service United Way Partner Charities."

United Way’s goal setting process requires input from its two major volunteer committees: the folks who put the dollars to use in the community (the Funds Distribution Committee) and the folks who raise the money (the Annual Campaign Cabinet). On July 20, the board of directors heard from both sides and then deliberated on the merits of each of their proposals. United Way will officially unveil this year’s goal at an event on Aug. 27. Once again the goal is expected to be an increase over last year’s $1,225,121 total which, in itself, was a 6.4 percent increase over 2013. In its 59 year history, the local independent United Way has raised more than $50 million.

“All our Partner Agencies work to make lives better in the United Way’s three target areas,” said Patricia Parker of Trustmark National Bank, the Walton Funds Distribution co-chair. “Children and Education, Financial Stability and Disaster Readiness, and Health and Prevention.” Kim Cox of Beach Community Bank, co-chair of the Okaloosa Funds Distribution Committee, echoed, “In the end, the need is so much greater than we can currently fund. That’s the dilemma our volunteers face. They are often are forced to make difficult funding decisions given the limited funds that become available.”

United Way’s Vice President for Resource Development, Ronda Davenport, said, “It’s a lot of money to raise, but our goal really is to ask everyone with a job here in Okaloosa and Walton Counties to pledge an hour’s pay per month for one year. If we could do that, we could raise $19 million so we’re really only reaching a small percentage of employees with our message. We’d never be able to get even that message out without the volunteer help of our Loaned Executives. If you’re a local business owner or manager and want to give your employees an opportunity to learn about our local United Way and to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to supporting it with a payroll deduction pledge, call me at 243-0315. I’ll send one of our Loaned Executives out to meet with you and make it happen."

This year’s Loaned Executive line-up includes these volunteers: Alex Rowe, Darrell Smith and Tiffany Howell of the Hilton Sandestin; Allie Noah, Arian Shockley and Ken Hair of Children in Crisis; Audra Ray of AMIkids; Anita Wolcott and Ashley Isaak of AVG Technologies; Anthony Lanier and Mick Leatherwood of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast; Brooke Kenton of Trustmark Bank; Carrie Warf of Shelter House; Larry Carter and Shannon Tait of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office; Connie Watson and Michelle Hooper of the Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa and Walton Counties; Danny Smith of CCB Community Bank; Denise McKinion and Mary Head of CHECLCO; Diane Fraser of the Emerald Coast Science Center; Donna Simmet of Jacobs; Gayle Vann of the Arc of the Emerald Coast; Glenn Langan, Wesley Hudgens, Sonya Powers and Pete Ratliff of Gulf Power Company; Gwen Stephenson of Beach Community Bank; Jackie Matichuk of Okaloosa Gas; Jimmy Chambers of Hancock Bank; Jonathan Slater of LPL Financial; Kate Scanlan of Northwest Florida State College; Katie Crowell and Lisa Cotton of the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center; Lindsay Maxey of Okaloosa County Schools; Michael Anderson of Okaloosa County Public Works; Nicole Brewer and Sharon Rogers of Safe Connections; Shawn Daugherty of the Boeing Company; Stacey Rivers of Walton County Schools; Dawn Stapelton and Steve Holland of Emerald Transformer (formerly Florida Transformer); Tina Moore of Okaloosa County Public Works; and Valerie Broxson of Okaloosa County Water and Sewer.