Smashing records

Local United Way celebrates 25 years with luncheon to honor contributors

Those who gathered for the Moffat County United Way celebration Thursday had two reasons to celebrate -- 25 years and a record-breaking fund drive.

"Our record-setting year would not have been possible without all of you that are here today," said Corrie Scott, executive director of the Moffat County United Way at a Thursday luncheon.

The non-profit group set a $300,000 goal this year, the highest goal ever. And the community was up to the challenge, pledging more than $335,000, the highest pledges ever. Scott said some money is still coming in and estimated the agency would hit about $$340,000.

"If it weren't for the local agencies and businesses we would not be able to do what we do," said John Ponikvar, past president of the United Way board. "What corporations do with corporate matches put us in the top 10 percent in the nation, which isn't bad for a little town in the middle of nowhere."

Board President Jaime Pearce talked about the changes that have occurred since the inception of the United Way 25 years ago, and how about five agencies benefited from United Way funds then, compared to the nearly 30 agencies that will benefit with the record-breaking amount of funds this year.

She also attempted to smash a watermelon with a small sledgehammer to signify the "smashed" record this year.

Tara Jenrich, executive director of Moffat County Partners, and Debi Garoutte, executive director of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, received special recognition for the adversity they faced this year stemming from an embezzlement scandal surrounding the dental coalition's previous director.

"In the darkest time for the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, the board of directors had the tenacity to name a new director," Scott said. "Debi began her first day not knowing if she was even going to get a paycheck."

The dental coalition was able to raise $17,000 and get back on track.

"She worked to turn the dental coalition into a highly regarded agency again," Scott said of Garoutte.

Local businesses and entities who made significant contributions to the drive were recognized Thursday.

Top contributors in the community were presented with a Gold Award.

Those entities and what they contributed this year, included:

  • Colowyo Coal Company and employees, $71,267.
  • Tri-State G&T and employees, $60,742.
  • Trapper Mine and employees, $42,526.
  • Twenty Mile Coal Company and employees, $35,855.
  • Xcel Energy and employees, $32,685.
  • Seneca Coal Company and employees, $12,738.
  • Moffat County employees, $11,897.
  • Moffat County School District employees, $11,695.
  • The Memorial Hospital employees, $11,665.

Those honored with a silver award at the meeting included:

  • Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.
  • Cook Chevrolet and employees.
  • Community First National Bank.
  • City of Craig employees.

Bronze award members include:

  • Yampa Valley Electric.
  • First National Bank of the Rockies.
  • Craig Daily Press.
  • Bank of Colorado.
  • Atmos Energy.
  • Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Now that the fund drive is over, the United Way will begin distributing the money raised to local agencies sometime next week.

Last year 27 local agencies received funds from the Moffat County United Way.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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