United Way of Greater Kingsport (UWGK) hosted its 2015 Annual Meeting on February 17, 2016 with approximately 110 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. Becca Sutphen, UWGK Community Impact Director and United States Army veteran who served our country in Operation Iraqi Freedom, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The keynote speaker for the event was Jim Harlan, influential community leader and former Eastman executive. His presentation, “Do You Believe…in Change?” served to highlight the impact UWGK and its volunteers have had in affecting lasting change in the community, and also served as a call to action to continue improving lives. “The United Way of Greater Kingsport stands on a legacy of mobilizing the caring power of our community to effectively address local health and human service needs,” said Mr. Harlan. “My encouragement to you today is to not take on the easy fixes; but instead to take on the hard jobs, the ones that get at root cause issues and deliver sustainable results.”
Three volunteers who have truly embraced the UWGK vision of “A Better Life for All” were recognized at the meeting: Tom Segelhorst, Jim Jones, and Mary Jones. Cari Parker, 2015 UWGK Board of Directors President, presented the prestigious UWGK Live United award to these volunteers, commending them for their years of service to United Way. Mr. Segelhorst has been active with UWGK for over a decade, serving on the Board of Directors and the Human Resources Committee. Mr. and Mrs. Jones served as co-chairs for the UWGK Signature Club, a Leadership Giving society, and have been active United Way advocates everywhere they have lived, starting United Ways in Batesville, AR and Vera Cruz, Mexico. “Volunteers are the strength and heart of a community,” said Danelle Glasscock, UWGK executive director. “We are thankful to have volunteers like Tom, Jim, and Mary, whose dedication and commitment help drive community change in the areas of education, income, and health. They truly embody what it means to Live United.”
Those volunteers who served on the 2015 UWGK Board of Directors, as well as on committees and councils that drove and supported the organization’s community impact work, were also recognized. Parker thanked those outgoing 2015 Board members who served alongside her: Nicole Austin, Duane Barnes, Ben Conkin, Dory Creech, Susan Fannon, Thomas Henning, Rhonda Reeves, Matt Storey, Phillip Tencer, Andy Wampler, and Kevin White. Tom Whittemore recognized UWGK Member Agencies, and Jane Henry thanked 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, Appalachian Miles for Smiles, and SeniorConnectKpt.org). Keith Parker, UWGK board member, motioned to affirm the 2016 UWGK Board of Directors slate. This motion was approved, and the 2016 UWGK Board of Directors was introduced:
Mayor John Clark presented Parker with a commendation from the City of Kingsport on behalf of the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Alderman for her leadership and vision as the 2015 UWGK Board President. Mayor Clark noted his own involvement with the UWGK Self-Sufficiency Vision Council’s work while speaking about the powerful collective impact model of United Way, saying, “The United Way really helped to educate me quickly as mayor on a key subject in our community. There are a number of teams just like that within United Way. It really impresses me all the more about United Way and their leadership in our community to improve lives.” Mayor Clark spoke about Parker’s commitment to the United Way core values of Caring, Collaboration, Excellence, Integrity, and Service, and thanked her for the leadership that helped to continue achieve long-lasting, positive change in the community. Parker then turned her gavel over to Craig Denison, 2016 UWGK Board of Directors President, who officially adjourned the meeting.