United Way of Greater Kingsport (UWGK) hosted its 2014 Annual Meeting on February 12, 2015 with approximately 130 people in attendance, including those who GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER on behalf of the organization, representatives from UWGK Member Agencies, and public officials from the City of Kingsport and Sullivan County. Distinguished United States Marine Corps Veterans Will Perkins, Dirk Smith, and Charlie King, all who faithfully served our country in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The organization’s vision, “A Better Life for All where everyone in the community has an opportunity for a quality education, financial stability, and good health,” was underscored in a presentation given by keynote speaker Dr. Marvin Cameron, pastor of First Baptist Church Kingsport. Dr. Cameron’s presentation, entitled, “Charity Matters,” used key concepts discussed in two popular books—Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton and When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, to highlight the work being done at the UWGK.
“One of the goals at United Way of Greater Kingsport is to imagine a community that fosters hope and opportunity for everyone. . .where the cycle of poverty and financial dependence ends and productive livelihoods begin for even the most disadvantaged,” said Dr. Cameron. “A goal like that does not become reality overnight. It requires interconnectedness. Bringing people and organizations from all across our community who have the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done is essential if lives are to be improved. United Way drives community change through a collaborative approach to community impact,” added Dr. Cameron.
Recognizing and thanking those individuals whose selfless contributions enabled the organization to create long-term, lasting change in community conditions rounded out the meeting. John Perdue, president of the 2014 UWGK Board of Directors, gave the prestigious UWGK Live United Award to two volunteers whose decades of service led to many lives being improved. Beulah Ferguson and Ed Reynolds were commended for their tireless efforts as board members as well as committee and council members. Their work helped launch United WE READ, a collaborative effort aimed at creating a literacy-rich community, and supported the critical work being done by UWGK Member Agencies respectively.
“We are humbled by the servant leadership that Beulah and Ed have provided to our organization. Each has brought unique contributions, enabling us to advance the common good in our focus areas—education, income, and health. They are great examples of what it means to Live United,” said Danelle Glasscock, UWGK executive director.
Also recognized were those individuals who served on the 2014 UWGK Board of Directors as well as on committees and councils that drove and supported the organization’s community impact work. Perdue thanked the outgoing 2014 Board Members that served alongside him, which included Mike Watts, Jim Maddox, Candace Sass, Lora Barnett, Edd Baldock, Rachel Horton Cain, and Cacy Fink. Edd Baldock and Jeff Hooker, UWGK past and present board members respectively, thanked the volunteers who gave of their time and talents on committees and councils to advance the work of the UWGK Community Impact Strategies (United WE READ, Life BRIDGE, Mobile Dental Unit, and SeniorConnectKpt.org) and UWGK Member Agencies. Keith Parker, UWGK board member, motioned to affirm the 2015 UWGK Board of Directors slate. This motion was approved, and the 2015 UWGK Board of Directors was introduced:
Mayor Dennis Phillips presented Perdue with a commendation from the City of Kingsport on behalf of the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Alderman for his leadership and vision as the 2014 UWGK Board President. Mayor Phillips noted that Perdue served as an example to those around him and inspired others to be part of the change that comes from people united in giving, advocating, and volunteering. Perdue then turned his gavel over to Darren Eskind, president of the 2015 UWGK Board of Directors, who then officially adjourned the meeting.