United Way of Hill County recognized community spirit at its annual luncheon Wednesday, honoring a nurse, a youth volunteer, a local cooperative and a railroad’s philanthropic foundation for volunteering and supporting the area.
At its third annual awards luncheon, the organization gave:
• Retired nurse Sue Swan the Norm Gorder Community Spirit Award
• Havre High School student Carona Sprinkle the first student award
• Hill County Electric/Triangle Communications the business award
• The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Foundation its Tocqueville Society Award for the foundation’s contributions to United Way of Hill County.
Swan said she was honored to be recognized in the league of long-time volunteer and 30-year United Way board member Gorder, who handed the awards to the recipients at the luncheon.
“This is a real surprise for me. In fact, I brought a gift for the person who was going to get this award, ” she said to laughter from the audience. “It’s right at the end of the table, but I’m going to give it to our student award (winner) instead.
“Norm has been an inspiration to me, ” she added. “This is a wonderful honor to be named a recipient of this award. ”
Swan also cited President John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” as an inspiration to her.
“United Way really does that, ” Swan said. “United Way doesn’t ask for things back but gives out to their community. ”
Sprinkle received the first student Norm Gorder Community Spirit Award for her long hours of volunteering, including at Kitty Keepers and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line, while participating in numerous school activities and sports while keeping up on her scholastic studies.
“She has also participated in the Day of Caring, United Way Kick-off Hoedown, putting up the Kitty Keepers Christmas Tree of Hope, the Day in the Park activities, and is always willing to participate when needed, ” United Way Executive Director Lorraine Verploegen said, while announcing Sprinkle was the honoree.
Hill County Attorney Gina Dahl presented the Business Norm Gorder Community Spirit Award to Hill County Electric, saying, “(The cooperative) truly exemplifies the meaning of community spirit. Not only does it provide sponsorships, door prizes and donations to the numerous groups in need who come knocking on its door, but it also fosters a culture of giving and generosity. ”
Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson
Kitty Keepers volunteer and Havre High School senior Carona Sprinkle, left, sits down next to Kitty Keepers administrator Penney Bergren after Sprinkle received the first-ever 2011 Norm Gorder Community Spirit Student Award for her volunteer service at the 3rd Annual United Way of Hill County Meeting and Luncheon Wednesday afternoon in Montana State University-Northern's Student Union Building. Bergren said Sprinkle is a major help during the Kitty Keepers spay and neuter clinics and has volunteered her time for many fundraisers.
Dahl cited the cooperative’s donations and fundraisers for local charities and organizations, formalizing its support with a program that now gives more than $40,000 in college scholarships awarded each year and an active economic development program.
Kev Campbell, public relations specialist for the cooperative, was nearly in tears while accepting the award.
“I have the best job because I get to give away what our company and its members and its customers want to give back to the community, ” she said. “I get paid to give a little of our generous communities that we serve, What an honor.
“And I know that all of our employees will cherish this, ” she added. “This will mean a lot to them. ”
Havre Public Schools Superintendent Andy Carlson awarded Hill County’s second United Way Tocqeville Society Award, given to donors who contribute at least $10,000, to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Foundation for the second straight year.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank the BNSF Foundation for their continued support of United Way, ” Carlson said.
In her closing statement, Verploegen urged all to notice the impact of the agency and to continue their support.
“As you leave today, look around you to see how we all make a difference in other lives, ” she said. “We have an opportunity to become an essential piece in 2012 to live united. Let’s join hands, open our hearts, lend our muscles, find our voices. Give 10 percent. Give 100 percent. Give an hour. Give a Saturday. And, most importantly, think of we before me. ”
United Way board recognized
United Way of Hill County recognized outgoing board members and leadership and incoming board members during its annual awards luncheon in Havre.
Outgoing members honored were 2010 President Amanda Johnson and 2011 President Kyle Leeds, and board directors John Sweitnicki and Darrell Hannum.
Incoming board members recognized were 2012 President Karen Sloan, Vice President Curt Curtis, and members of the board Susan Brurud, Christin Hileman, Randy Randolph, Darcy Reum, Karen Thomas, Joe Von Stein and Loretta Widdekind.