United Way annual meeting honors individuals, businesses, and local organizations – Hannibal.net

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Updated: February 16, 2022 @ 7:39 pm
Dave Dexheimer (left) was given the Lifetime Dedication Award by Denise Damron, executive director of the United Way of the Mark Twain Area at their annual meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Staff Writer
Dave Dexheimer (left) was given the Lifetime Dedication Award by Denise Damron, executive director of the United Way of the Mark Twain Area at their annual meeting on Thursday afternoon.
HANNIBAL — About 100 people from businesses, local nonprofit organizations and the community gathered at the Rialto Banquet Hall Thursday afternoon for the United Way of the Mark Area’s annual meeting.
The campaign for the year was “Community” and Kevin Arthaud, the campaign chair, reported they have met a little more than 80% of their goal to $400,000 and there will still be funds to come.
Denise Damron, executive director for the United Way of the Mark Twain Area, said throughout the campaign, they wanted to focus on what the United Way does for the community.
“We did different things to bring to light the work of United Way but also highlighted the work of our partner organizations and how they do great things for the community,” she said.
The Giving Tuesday party hosted by the United Way in November put the spotlight on organizations in the community, and how community members could get involved. Damron said this will return as an annual event with service projects incorporated into the day as well.
Another series encouraging the community to get involved in giving was the restaurant series “Dine United” where each week a participating restaurant would donate a certain amount of profits to the United Way.
Stacey Nicholas, development officer at Douglas Community, said the United Way helps fund their food pantry along with community programs like CASA, which provides support for children who are under court care.
She also said their support helps them garner other funding as well.
“When federal funders ask who your local funders are and you say United Way then they know you have a lot of community support,” she said.
Several were honored at the annual meeting.
Harold Smith of KHMO radio was named the Community Partner of the Year. Upon announcing his award, Damron thanked him for his years of support via the airwaves and said Smith, “has made certain United Way Community Impact Agencies are given time to share about upcoming programs, fundraisers and more.”
She also recalled times that Smith would spend the night at the radio station after late nights announcing football games in order to ensure he was at the station in time for the United Way Saturday Morning Auction.
“It’s always nice to be recognized for doing what you love to do. I tell so many people: I get the word out, that’s what I do,” Smith said to the group. “I just passed 50 years behind the microphone and it never gets old.”
The Lifetime Dedication Award went to Dave Dexheimer, who has served the United Way in many capacities over the years. As the president of the board of directors in the early 2000s, and the campaign chair in 2000, Dexheimer helped raise more than $400,000 for the United Way. He also served as the executive director at Douglas Community Services, a United Way agency.
In 2016 he rejoined the United Way Board of Directors and was instrumental in the formation of the Substance Abuse Preventative Initiative.
Damron reflected on Dexheimer’s servant heart.
“He is always the first board member to show up and the last to leave helping carry things in and out at events and meetings,” she said.
After receiving the award, Dexheimer said the last 25 or 26 years have been a privilege. He praised the work of previous directors and then added, “My goodness what a great job Denise Damron is doing.”
Recognized as United Way’s Business of the year was Watlow, whose employees gave $25,408.68. The amount was a 70% increase from the previous year.
The Child Advocacy Center was named as Agency of the Year. Not only did the staff contribute to the United Way campaign but the agency has been a standout in helping children.
“They have seen a large increase in the number of children being referred to their agency for services after experiencing neglect and abuse,” Damron said. “The organization has met the demand and been a great resource for local law enforcement, children’s division, the prosecuting attorney offices and more.”
Retiring Board members for the United Way were also honored including Dave Dexheimer, Tony DeGrave, and Justin Gibson. New members were also elected to the board.
Looking ahead, Damron announced that they would be hosting their Evening of Philanthropy on April 22 at the barn of Beau & Company outside Palmyra. The event, which started in 2019 and was last held in person in 2020, recognizes local individuals and couples who exemplify the values of the United Way.
Damron said they are currently looking for individuals, families, and couples to honor at the event by showcasing them in a video to be produced by communication students at Hannibal LaGrange University.
In closing his speech at the meeting, Arthaud challenged everyone in the room to look to each other for examples of how to continue helping in the community.
“Our community gets stronger when every time we feel like we’ve reached our capacity to meet a challenge we are able to look around and see examples — many being folks sitting in this room — who were able to rise to the challenges,” he said.
Staff Writer
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