Hess helps open Jefferson County campaign

STEUBENVILLE – The United Way of Jefferson County kicked off its 2014 campaign with a donation from the Hess Corp. and a plea from Executive Director Beth Rupert-Warren, who asked for more local involvement.

The opening of the campaign to raise $440,000 to assist the 19 member agencies was held Thursday evening at the YMCA Wellness Center in partnership with the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours and the Trinity Sports Medicine open house.

“I am looking forward to a very successful campaign and I know we will once again reach our goal. We have great people who support the United Way of Jefferson County and really good volunteers who work hard to support those who need our help,” stated Anthony Mougianis, the 2014 campaign chairman.

The campaign started with a $7,000 check presentation from from Robert Williams, Hess Corp. Utica operations team lead, and Glenda Harlan, Hess social responsibility coordinator.

“At the Hess Corp., we are committed to having a positive impact on the lives of the people in the communities where we do business. The United Way, along with its many partnership agencies in Jefferson County, connects and advances our community in a positive way. We are proud to donate to this initiative to help strengthen the foundation of where our employees work and live,” said Williams.

Harlan was also one of several people at the two-hour business after hours who took a chance at winning a prize in the money machine.

“That was fun but I didn’t win anything. I’ll have to try again,” she laughed.

Mike Florak, director of community development for Franciscan University of Steubenville, also entered the glass box and emerged with a smile.

“I was willing to go all out here to support the United Way of Jefferson County because the agency supports a lot of people who are in need. Franciscan University is very committed to our community and we fully support the United Way,” said Florak.

Rupert-Warren is hoping that spirit of willingness spreads throughout Jefferson County this month.

“The Jefferson County Day of Caring is set for Sept. 26 and I am pleading, praying and hoping for as many volunteers to help us that day as possible,” said Rupert-Warren.

“I view this as a key way of bringing the community together. It is an opportunity for all of our 19 member agencies to meet face to face with the businesses who support us. The materials are always provided, but we are in need of people willing to perform the labor,” Rupert-Warren explained.

“We definitely need more volunteers. And I am hoping for people to join us from throughout the county. This is not just a Steubenville event. We are doing day of caring projects across the county. We want this event to touch everyone in our area,” she remarked.

“We are really mixing up the work teams. We may have health care professionals working alongside laborers. The Jefferson County Day of Caring is open to anyone who wants to participate. We are all one county working together. I am hoping people who may not be able to give financially to give their time or personal skills to the day of caring. This is a good opportunity to make a difference and to do something positive for the community. We are looking for individuals, families, organizations or churches to join us. We welcome everyone who wants to give back to the community,” stressed Rupert-Warren.

“The day of caring will start with a breakfast at 8 a.m. We will then send our work teams out into the communities of Amsterdam, Bergholz, Mingo Junction, Steubenville and Wintersville, where we have projects lined up. Last year we had 89 volunteers. I want many more volunteers this year,” Rupert-Warren.

“The work projects will generally last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We can use all-day volunteers as well as people who may only be able to volunteer a couple of hours. Please call our office at (740) 284-9000 if you have any questions or want to sign up as a day of caring volunteer. This is Jefferson County, where people are always ready to step forward and get involved. And, the volunteers will be blessed. The day of caring is a day where we can all make a difference in Jefferson County. We are a community that cares. We care about our friends and neighbors. Volunteers will receive a breakfast, a Live United T-shirt and eternal blessings,” according to Rupert-Warren.

Rupert-Warren said an anonymous donor has once again stepped forward to offer $10,000 in matching funds for new donations.

“That alone shows how committed people are to their community and the Jefferson County United Way,” commented Rupert-Warren.

The business after hours event also gave the public a chance to visit the new Trinity Sports Medicine facility in the YMCA Wellness Center.

“We still have a few things to coordinate between the wellness center and our offices. It is still a work in progress. But I think we have greatly enhanced our sports medicine,” said Dr. Michael Scarpone.

“We are also planning a nutrition cooking class here. We always encourage people to eat healthy. Now we will be able to teach our patients how to cook healthy. I am looking forward to those classes starting soon,” added Scarpone.

Michelle Wilson, the director of the wellness center, said she was also pleased with the attendance Thursday evening.

“This is a great collaboration between the YMCA, Trinity Health System and Trinity Sports Medicine. We also recently opened a wellness center in collaboration with Trinity in Toronto and, of course, we have a wellness center at Eastern Gateway Community College. I think you are seeing more people looking to get in shape,” Wilson observed.

(Gossett can be contacted at dgossett@heraldstaronline.com.)