The Board of Directors of the United Way of St. Francois County is welcoming three new faces. Farmington businesswoman Jacinta Weidenbenner, marketing professional Michelle Smith and radio personality Jason Loughary will complete the 20-member board.
The United Way has a goal of awarding $190,000 to agencies in St. Francois County in 2013 that meet basic human needs. Among the agencies funded this year are six food pantries, four senior centers and 17 other agencies that meet specific needs.
Loughary and Smith are St. Francois County natives who say they support the United Way because of the impact it has on their neighbors.
“I decided to join United Way because the agencies they support are some of those where I have turned for help and resources for the people I’ve worked with over the past 10 years,” said Smith, the marketing director for Safe Harbor Hospice. “I just think the United Way is a great fit for me.”
Smith said she hopes to educate organizations and individuals on how the money raised by the United Way is used in our communities. She said she sees the need continuing to grow and hopes she can help the United Way respond to those needs as they work to help the agencies that help people in St. Francois County.
Smith, who lives in Bonne Terre, is also on the board of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.
Loughary has worked with Relay for Life, Desloge Chamber of Commerce, St Francois County Fair Board, March of Dimes March for Babies and Farmington Country Days. He is the program director for KFMO/B104 Radio in Park Hills and lives in Desloge. For the United Way, Loughary has already served as a holiday bell-ringer, conducted interviews with board members on the radio and taken part in the annual Dine Out For United Way in the fall.
“I’ve always admired the United Way of St. Francois County because of the simple fact that all the money stays in St. Francois County,” he said. “A lot of fundraisers are set for just one cause, and most of that money raised goes to corporate offices in the region, leaving people in our area without the help they need. That’s not the case with United Way.”
Loughary said he hopes his knowledge of the communities served by the United Way will help his role as a board member working to impact the lives of people in need.
Weidenbenner has lived in the Parkland for a little more than 20 years. She owns Butterfield Florist and Gifts in Farmington.
“Before that, I worked in the mental health field doing social work and came to know the United Way and the good it does in the community,” she explained. “ My husband and I have always tried to participate in community betterment groups and we met many people who are involved in United Way.”
She said she likes to think “outside the box” when it comes to problem-solving and looks forward to working hard to help meet the needs of the community. In the past, she has supported United Way by attending Girls’ Nights Out and holding fundraisers at her business.
“I think United Way is successful at fundraising because the board is a dynamic group of people who have made it their business to know and care about people,” she said. “ It’s a domino effect –tell/ask of one person and then they go out and do the same. Pay it forward.” Weidenbenner and her husband Ed have owned Butterfields for 12 years. They also own Tropical Snow and recently opened a business in Poplar Bluff.
In welcoming the new board members, United Way Board President Dennis Smith said he is excited about the varied experience they bring.
”We are a very active board and Michelle, Jacinta and Jason are already active in the community, so they’re more than prepared to help us with the upcoming fall campaign,” he said. “They’ll help us spread the message about the agencies we fund and how they meet the needs of our neighbors.”
Smith is a St. Francois County Deputy Sheriff and Farmington councilman. Kerry Glore, St. Francois County Treasurer, is vice president of the United Way Board. Sue Evans, First State Financial Services, is treasurer.
Tammy Bracken, Serenity Hospice Care is secretary. Additional board members are: Kelly Barnes, USA Drug; Jackie Berry, Mineral Area College; Debbie Bunch, New Era Bank George Easley, Daily Journal; Mary Lee Faircloth, retired, Central Schools; Mike Gladbach, retired businessman; Mark Hedrick, St. Francois County Clerk; Paula Jackson, retired Farmington Schools; Peggy Ropelle, retired, Mineral Area College; Brice Sechrest, attorney, Williams and Sechrest; Shelly Tate, Ozarks Federal Savings and Loan; Mark Toti, KREI/KTJJ; and Dr. Richard Winder, Mineral Area Regional Medical Center.
One way to support United Way is to purchase tickets to the July 24 game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. B104/KFMO is sponsoring United Way of St. Francois County night and already, more than 400 tickets have been sold.
“Fewer than 100 tickets remain to be sold,” said Donna Hickman, executive director of the United Way of St. Francois County. “They’re valued at $55 but we’re selling them for just $15 each! Half the cost goes to United Way.”
Tickets may be purchased until June 29 at B104/KFMO in Park Hills or at the chamber of commerce offices in Park Hills or Farmington. After that time, tickets will only be available at the office of the United Way of St. Francois County, 739 E. Karsch Blvd., in Farmington.
On July 13, from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., an on-air auction on B104/KFMO will give listeners the chance to call in to bid on throwing out the first pitch of the game. The total price of the bid will go to the United Way of St. Francois County.
Find out more about the United Way on the web at http://www.unitedwayofsfc.org.