TEXARKANA, Texas --United Way of Greater Texarkana on Friday held a Recognition Breakfast for its sponsors and partners and community members who help the agency fulfill its mission to improve the "overall quality of life" in the region.
In comments to the elected officials and community representatives gathered at Texarkana Convention Center, United Way President Mark Bledsoe offered thanks for the support the agency receives.
"This is the best way to show our appreciation for all those that do so much for United Way, because we couldn't do this without community support. We recognized the top corporate campaigns, but we also recognized the nonprofits we work with. We are all at the same table, and we visit with one another trying to take care of the issues in the community," Bledsoe said.
The breakfast also included an update on the United Way's various fundraisers.
"This year we did an awesome job distributing 1,900 backpacks -- record year," Bledsoe said about Stuff the Bus.
Mayor Bob Bruggeman of Texarkana, Texas, presented the Kline Cup award to Steve Morris. The Kline Cup is awarded to the division chairman who produces the greatest fundraising increase over the previous year in the United Way's annual campaign. This year's campaign raised more than $720,000.
During the breakfast, the United Way also played its campaign video, which featured Kelsi Saulsbury and son Chance, who receives therapy at Temple Memorial Pediatric Center.
"United Way has made a big impact as far as Temple goes, and we wouldn't be where we are without Temple. Like the video said, Chance is nonverbal and we get equipment like his chair and talking device, and so United Way has made that possible," Saulsbury said after the presentation.
The breakfast was also a changing of the guard, with United Way Board Chairman Mike Mahone passing the torch to Cheryl Gildon.
"United Way has been a very big part of my life. Growing up -- using some of the agencies for different reasons -- to becoming an adult and being on the board for several years ... I'm very excited to be part of the executive committee as the chairperson," Gildon said.
Joining Gildon on the incoming executive committee are Darin Turner, Darla Wilf and Leigh Ann Naul. The new members will serve for three years.
The Recognition Breakfast was made possible through sponsorships by Summit Utilities, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Texarkana Funeral Home, Domtar, Farmers Bank & Trust, LifeNet, Roger's Trophy, Red River Federal Credit Union and Ellis Pottery.
"This breakfast is our opportunity to recognize all the volunteers throughout the community that made this year's campaign a success and to recognize our top 12 contributors," Campaign Chairman David Mims said.