Corrie Ponikvar, executive director of Moffat County United Way, walks by the award display during a luncheon to recognize the agency’s donors Tuesday at the Holiday Inn of Craig. The Moffat County United Way raised more than $515,000 in its 2010 campaign.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Corrie Ponikvar, executive director of Moffat County United Way, walks by the award display during a luncheon to recognize the agency’s donors Tuesday at the Holiday Inn of Craig. The Moffat County United Way raised more than $515,000 in its 2010 campaign.

Moffat County United Way exceeds its goal

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Evelyn Tileston applauds Frank Hanel, Moffat County United Way’s 2010 campaign chairman, in his closing words thanking Moffat County residents for their contributions during a luncheon Tuesday at the Holiday Inn.

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Craig Mayor Don Jones accepts an award on behalf of the city’s employees for their contributions to Moffat County United Way’s fundraising campaign from Jeanine Campbell, United Way human resources manager.

Recent Moffat County United Way campaign results

2009:

Goal: $480,000

Actual: $505,000

2010:

Goal: $485,000

Actual: $515,000

In a year plagued with economic woes, budget cutbacks and financial strain on many households, Moffat County United Way faced an uphill battle for its 2010 fundraising campaign.

In a luncheon Tuesday at the Holiday Inn of Craig to celebrate a record year for the campaign, United Way campaign chairman Frank Hanel said he was proud to be a member of a community that stepped up to the challenge.

The 2010 campaign raised more than $515,000, exceeding its goal of $485,000 and setting a new record.

Several organizations were honored at the luncheon for having employees who banded together, contributing small deductions from their paychecks to add up to a record sum to benefit Moffat County health and human service groups.

Twentymile Coal Co. led the top contributors with more than $107,000 in donations, though no one from the mine was in attendance Tuesday to accept the award for their contributions.

Tri-State Generation & Trans­mission donated more than $81,000.

Plant manager Rick Johnson said the company matched employee contributions dollar for dollar.

“I’m proud of our employees’ generosity,” Johnson said.

Steve Martin, Tri-State planner and scheduler, said trying financial times prompted employees to step up and donate $10,000 more than the year before.

“I think a lot of people realized how lucky they were that they had good paying jobs,” he said. “The recession hasn’t really hit us in this industry as it has for a lot of people.

“I think they realized the position we were in and really stepped up to help others that maybe weren’t so lucky. A lot of them live in Moffat County and know (the donations are) staying in the county.”

United Way Executive Director Corrie Ponikvar said the money raised during the campaign will be allocated to about 50 services and agencies in Moffat County.

At the luncheon, one such agency was honored for its service in 2009 as Agency of the Year.

Gina Toothaker, Craig Mental Health program director, said she was surprised to hear her organization honored by United Way.

“It’s an amazing acknowledgement of everything we try to do for the consumer and the community,” she said. “I think my staff will be really excited.”

She said contributions from United Way help pay for therapy and psychiatric care for those who would otherwise not be able to afford mental health services.

“It goes a long way toward reaching out to people in the community who otherwise would not receive care,” she said. “Our work is sometimes, well always, very difficult, and we really appreciate the acknowledgement.”

Ponikvar said that agencies such as Craig Mental Health will benefit from the strong support of Moffat County businesses, organizations and individuals exhibited by this year’s successful campaign.

“It shows the value this community places on making sure everyone has the opportunity to have a better life,” she said.

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