United Way of Effingham County announced at its Feb. 5 annual meeting the organization raised $331,665 in the 2017 campaign.

Winners of the 2017 Spirit of Caring Awards were announced, and businesses achieving Gold, Silver and Bronze status were honored. Stevens Industries was recognized as the “Lead Pacesetter” company.

The 2017 Spirit of Caring Awards were announced, recognizing individuals who are committed citizens and organizations that stand out, who make an impact on the campaign, while giving countless hours to improve the quality of life in Effingham County.

Oneighty was named 2017 Outstanding Volunteer. Darin Hansen and volunteers from Oneighty played a key role in creating the United Way campaign videos used for employee campaigns. They most recently helped with the production of the 2017 campaign video.

Siemer Milling Company was named 2017 Outstanding Organization.

Marty Watson was named 2017 Outstanding Board Member. He joined the United Way Board of Directors in 2016 representing Ameren. He has held various roles on the board, serving on the Grants Committee, Special Events Committee and the Campaign Committee. Watson also served as Vice President in 2017, and will serve as President for the current year. He has been instrumental in Ameren’s United Way campaign, raising over $31,000 with the most recent campaign.

Other business included seating seven new and renewing directors for the 2018 Board of Directors. New members include Lisa Koerner with Stevens Industries, Cindy Grunloh with Crossroads Bank and Tyler Semple with Heartland Dental. Those serving another term include Kelsey Goeckner with Dieterich Bank, Peggy Valenti with Koerner Distributor, Lora Bergfeld with Midland States Bank and Patty Greene with Thelma Keller Convention Center.

Special thanks was given to outgoing board member Mike Defend with Crossroads Bank, Community Member Larry O’Dell and JR Elder with Stevens Industries for their term on the board.

Pacesetter Companies were also recognized. These are companies who have conducted an employee campaign, made a corporate donation, and purchased a table at the United Way Gala. More than 85 percent of the annual campaign is generated from employee campaigns. These include Agracel, Ameren, Consolidated Communications, Crossroads Bank, Dieterich Bank, Heartland Dental, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, Koerner Distributor, Midland States Bank, Patterson Technology Center, Siemer Milling Company, Stevens Industries and Washington Savings Bank.

Gold, Silver and Bronze level plaques were presented to the businesses based on their campaign totals. Gold level businesses, raising $10,000 or above include: Agracel, Ameren, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, Koerner Distributor, Midland States Bank, Patterson Technology Center, Siemer Milling Company, and Stevens Industries. Silver level businesses, raising $5,000 - $9,999, include Dieterich Bank and Niemerg’s Steakhouse. Bronze level businesses, raising $2,500 - $4,999, include Fifth Third Bank, Walmart, Washington Savings Bank and West and Company.

Other local businesses conducting employee campaigns were also honored including Catholic Charities, Consolidated Communications, Continental Mills, Crossroads Bank, Effingham County employees, Federal Express, First Financial Bank of Newton, First National Bank of Waterloo, Heartland Dental, Hodgson Mill, John Boos & Company, Land of Lincoln Credit Union, RR Donnelley & Sons, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Senior Services of Effingham County, Sherwin Williams and United Fidelity Bank of St. Elmo.

West and Company was recognized for conducting their first employee campaign.

Twenty-five local partner agencies will receive funding from the 2017 United Way of Effingham County campaign including Andrew Gobczynski Big Heart Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters Mid-Illinois, Blessings in a Backpack, Boy Scouts of America - Lincoln Trails Council, CASA of Effingham County, Catholic Charities, CEFS Literacy Program, CEFS Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Children’s Advocacy Center of East Central Illinois, Effingham Child Development Center, Effingham County FISH Human Services, Effingham County Search & Rescue, Effingham County Youth Commission, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, Heartland Human Services, Meal on Wheels of CEFS, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), One Hope United, Oneighty, Senior Services of Effingham County, Sexual Assault and Family Emergencies (SAFE), Strategic Training & Restoration (STAR), Stopping Woman Abuse Now (SWAN), and the Unit 40 Mentoring Program.

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