Mary Katherine Murphy
Two United Way volunteers were recognized for their commitment to an organization that gives its all to the community.
United Way of Scotland County board member Emerson Veler was named as the organization’s Volunteer of the Year at the annual United Way appreciation luncheon held at the end of March, while Hope Dohogn was presented the Exemplary Service Award.
Veler served the organization as its 2011 campaign chairman, netting a $10,000 increase in contributions by reinventing how the United Way solicits funds.
“Our contributions have steadily gone down from a peak of $587,000 in 1998 to $193 in 2011, but we were able to increase that this year by about $10,000,” Veler said. “We really looked at all of the materials we were using, brought those up to date to focus more on what the United Way does, and we were successful. That’s what mainly what I spent all of time on, making the presentations and redoing the letters we send out, rather than just sending out one letter, send out four different letters depending on id people had contributed in the past, that kind of thing.”
Veler, an engineer at Campbell’s Soup, has been involved with United Way for three years.
“Enthusiasm, commitment, and hard work describe Emerson,” said Debbie Grant, United Way of Scotland County executive director. “He will tackle anything, so I’m very lucky to have him as my campaign chair.”
Dohogn, a board member and the organization’s treasurer, has worked with United Way for seven years. Much of her work is performed out of the spotlight.
“I help organize the different events that we have, like Safety Town,” said Dohogn. “Anything that we do I make fliers for, mostly behind the scenes kind of stuff. I do one portion of the accounting side as treasurer.”
“Hope always goes above and beyond the call of duty,” said Grant. “She’s always willing to help, and has been a loyal United Way board member for several years. Hope is very deserving of this award.”
Veler said that United Way’s mission of returning as much money as possible to the local community makes it a worthwhile cause.
“The great, great majority of the money stays local,” he said. “And we, as we all know, need the money to stay local because we’ve had one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.”
United Way supports 17 nonprofit agencies in Scotland County, allowing its volunteers to help many different causes indirectly.
“You can give a little to all of the agencies in the area that need help,” Dohogn said. “They support so many different organizations in the area that you can help everyone a little.”
Through United Way, Veler said, contributions and volunteer efforts are directed to the places where they can have the most significant impact.
“The good thing about the United Way is that they actually have a committee that agencies have to submit applications to, then there’s an interview process,” said Veler. “It enables you to do a pretty good job of spreading money around where it’s needed most, and you can be assured that it helps the people who need it the most. That’s a part of our process: we want to know exactly what the money is going to do.”
Local businesses and organizations were also noted for their contributions to United Way. Award of Excellence winners BB&T, BlueScope Steel, Campbell’s Soup Company, Community One, Hanesbrand, Hospice of Scotland County, Laurinburg Housing Authority, Service Thread Manufacturing, Dunbar Insurance, and Z.V. Pate pledged at least $50 per employee.
Outstanding Achievement Award winners Carver Middle School, Campbell’s Soup Company, Hanesbrand, Community Drug, Covington Street School, Harris Teeter, Scotland High School of Health Sciences, Katherine and Hewitt Fulton, Meritor, and Wagram Primary School increased their pledges by at least 15 percent over the previous year.
WLNC, Laurel Hill School, and BB&T were recognized for 100 percent employee participation, with an average of at least $25 per employee.
“I can honestly say that without the help and support of local businesses, there would be no United Way,” Grant said.