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UNITED WAY OF RUSSELL AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES WINTER/SPRING 2012

LIVE UNITED NEWSLETTER TM

What’s Inside

United Way Reports Record Year Backpacks Unite Fundraiser The Roots of Recovery Project Education Initiative

Kevin Crutchfield, CEO, Alpha Natural Resources

P.O. Box 644 Abingdon, VA 24212 • Ph: (276) 628-2160 • Fax: (276) 628-8484

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2012 UNITED WAY ANNUAL AWARDS

Washington County Long-Term Recovery Group- Spirit of the Community Award

Alpha Natural Resources- Top Giver and Growth & Innovation Award

Town of Abingdon- Growth & Innovation Award Food City- Award of Excellence Tina Camper, United Way of Russell & Washington Co. 10 Year Service Award

Ricky Chafin representing Appalachian Power for their Community Service Award

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On February 7th, United Way hosted an annual awards luncheon honoring numerous businesses and volunteers for their contributions to the 2011 Campaign. “We were able to raise $1.385M and an additional $815,000 in disaster relief efforts for a combined total of more than $2M dollars, said Travis Staton, Chief Executive Officer of United Way. We are forever grateful to all of the community members that made this year successful.�

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WCYB & FoxTri-Cities- Media Partner of the Year Award

Raymond Cross, Bread of Life Food Pantry, received the Volunteer of the Year Award

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! t r o p p u s r u o y r o f u o y Thank

Tarah Taylor, WCYB News Anchor

Brian Patton, Russell Co. Camapaign Chair & Commonwealth’s Attorney

BACKPACKS UNITE FUNDRAISER EVENT

Stepping up for a good cause, Tarah Taylor, WCYB’s News Anchor, was the keynote speaker for the Backpacks Unite event on February 18th, raising over $7,500 to help feed 45 students in Russell County for an entire school year. The event included a dinner followed by an auction and live music by Otherwize, featured in the Top 20 of American Idol’s “Can you Duet. Auction items ranged from handmade quilts, sporting & racing event tickets, gift baskets, to a WCYB tour and Mammography and Bone Dexa scans from the Russell County Medical Center. Today there are many children in the area who do not receive the proper nutrition to succeed in school. Backpacks Unite is a program that was launched to take action against child hunger and improve students’ learning ability in the classroom. Russell County Medical Center and team members had a peanut butter drive collecting over 450 jars to support the program in addition to previously donating 250 backpacks for Russell County Schools. “Approximately 80 percent of Russell County Medical Center team members live in Russell County,” said hospital assistant vice president/administrator Eddie Greene, who serves on the local United Way board. “Our team members see first-hand the effect that insufficient nutrition has on the children in our schools, and participating in this peanut butter drive was the way they chose to help.” As many as 220 students in 11 Russell County schools receive nutritious prepared food over the weekend throughout the entire school year for just $180 per child. If you would like to sponsor a child or school please visit RWCUNTIEDWAY.ORG to learn more.

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A very special thank you to the noon Rotary Club of Washington County Rotary Club of Washington County for closing the gap at Valley Institute Elementary School and making a financial contribution to the Backpacks Unite program. Without this generous donation, several students would not be able to continue in the program.

ABINGDON COLLISION & TOWING for your recent support of the Backpacks Unite Program!

THANK YOU Special thanks to Jon Bowerbank and EMATS for use of your box trucks to deliver food to the schools!

Johnston Memorial Hospital Cancer Center employees had a peanut butter drive and collected 150 jars for the Russell and Washington County schools’ Backpacks Unite Program.

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United Way and The Washington County Long-Term Recovery Group partnered with Bristol Motor Speedway’s Children’s Charities and Feed The Children in November to distribute a non-perishable food, household/ cleaning supplies, and personal care products to assist over 400 hundred families in Washington County, many of whom were affected by the April tornadoes last year. A very special thank you is extended to Morgan McClure Motorsports for providing the facility and equipment for distribution to families.

Tornado Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

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Eva Beaule (right) was the highest bidder for this beautiful quilt, “Harvest Spice”,made by Kristina Morris (left) to help aid in the tornado relief.

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A tornado volunteer appreciation dinner was held on May 3rd to thank those volunteer individuals and groups who assisted in the April 2011 tornado recovery efforts. Volunteers came from near and far to help celebrate everyone’s efforts. Members of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) and the Taiwan Embassy also attended the event to continue their support of which they donated $20,000 to the Disaster Support fund last June. A special thank you to Alpha Natural Resources for sponosoring the event along with Catering By Food City and Mountain Man’s Mobile Cooker for providing the food.

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THE ROOTS OF RECOVERY PROJECT The Roots of Recovery Project

United Way of Russell and Washington Counties, along with the Washington County Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) helped to reforest damaged communities in Southwest Virginia from the April 2011 tornados. The Roots of Recovery Project worked with volunteers to distribute and plant hundreds of trees in area neighborhoods as part of an effort to bring communities back to their previous beauty and strength by restoring the tree-lined streets as they were before the April tornados. In the wake of the devastating tornados that ravaged different parts of the community last year, The Roots of Recovery Project helped residents restore their properties with new trees that brought beauty, healing, and hope back into the communities that sustain substantial tree loss. “It will take decades to replace what was lost in an instant,” said Travis Staton, United Way’s CEO. “With this tree recovery project, we will be taking another momentous step forward in healing and restoring hope by enriching our neighborhoods with beautiful trees.” Individuals and groups such as The Washington County Extension Office along with the Virginia Department of Forestry donated 1,400 seedlings to help jumpstart the reforestation effort along streams and right of ways where large areas of tree devastation occurred. American Electric Power (AEP) will be assisted along with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for the site selection for the seedling project. Valley Institute Elementary School students had a penny war and collected over $1,000 for this project. In addition to the seedlings, individual families and residents directly affected by the tornados also received two mature trees at their personal residence with the option of having the trees planted by local volunteers if they chose. The United Way and the Washington County Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) provided an additional 800 mature trees to those families who were directly affected by the tornado. Virginia Governor, Bob McDonnell, also toured the recovery efforts from last year’s April 27th & 28th tornados on Friday, April 27, 2012. Page 8

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READING TODAY... LEADING TOMORROW United Way of Russell and Washington Counties, along with local county school systems launched READING TODAY…LEADING TOMORROW, an early childhood initiative to boost early grade reading skills in Southwest Virginia. “Reading skills build a strong foundation for academic success and high school graduation,” said Travis Staton, Chief Executive Officer for United Way of Russell and Washington Counties. “Successful readers will better understand the world around them, and will be able to use those skills to succeed in a demanding workplace and to be a fully engaged citizen.” With the launch of this new initiative the United Way has provided area schools with free literacy toolkits to engage and enrich literacy activities between the schools and parents of elementary school students. The toolkits have been distributed to 17 area elementary schools in Russell and Washington Counties and are estimated to serve over 2,300 students in pre-k, kindergarten and first grade. Each toolkit includes books for each reading level as well as activity materials and supplies related to the books to promote fun in reading. “United Way has a long history of helping families in Washington County. It is exciting to see how United Way is forming partnerships with local schools to provide Literacy Kits to educators and books to students,” said Dr. Andy Cox, Principal of Abingdon Elementary School. “The Literacy Kits have wonderful resources teachers can use in their classrooms and the books for kids are perfect for beginning readers. We are very fortunate to have a community partner like the United Way supporting educators in educating children.” “One of the most important ways to build literacy is to put books into the hands of children,” Cox said. “Children entering school must first learn to read, so later they can read to learn. The key for educators is early, early, early.... the sooner students are read to and exposed to good books the sooner the literacy begins. Without the exposure to books, students enter school at a disadvantage to their classmates and already have catching up to do.” Page 10

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NONPROFIT ORG. US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 4 ABINGDON, VA

United Way of Russell and Washington Counties Post Office Box 644 Abingdon, Virginia 24212

Corporate Partners

WELCOME New Staff! A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Alison Inman was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she spent most of her youth before attending college at Emory and Henry. Alison Inman serves as Resource Development Manager at the United Way of Russell and Washington Counties, where she cultivates community support and assists in the identification and development of new revenue streams and sustains current revenue streams.Prior to joining the United Way, Alison spent two years as a Program Director at People Incorporated of Virginia, developing funding applications and providing a myriad of support including data collection and analysis and grant administration. Before moving to Abingdon, Alison served two years as a Unit Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater High Point in High Point, North Carolina. A graduate of Emory and Henry College, Alison holds a Bachelors Degree in Public Policy and Community Service and Sociology and a Masters Degree in Community and Organizational Leadership. Alison currently resides in Abingdon with her fiancĂŠ Brian Hicks. Born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee, Danielle Starnes currently lives in Duffield, Virginia where her parents are originally from. She graduated from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 2003, and went on to pursue her Bachelors degree from Emory and Henry College in Athletic Training. She recently returned to school where she completed a second Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, and her Masters degree in Education with a concentration in Curriculum & Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University. Upon graduation from Emory and Henry, Danielle worked for Eastman Health and Wellness as a Health Fitness Professional for two years, where she conducted various health risk assessments for the current workforce of Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport. Danielle has also taught school, and managed a local running store. Danielle has recently joined the United Way team as the new Smart Beginnings Director, where she will be working with local businesses and agencies in the community to improve the quality of care and education for children from Birth to age 5 in the areas of Russell and Washington Counties as well as Bristol, VA. In her spare time, Danielle enjoys coaching participants in various running programs, and has been training for her first half marathon. She also enjoys visiting her alma mater of Emory and Henry, and spending quality time with friends and family. Page 12


2012 Winter/Spring Newsletter