By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A longtime supporter of United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma was honored Thursday night with the annual Dick Lambertz Award.
Jim Rives received the award, which was established in 2000 to recognize volunteers who best exemplify the values of the late Dick Lambertz, long known as “Mr. United Way.”
“It’s an honor to be recognized, and humbling,” Rives said. “Dick was such a leader and he told me once a community is judged by the way it supports its agencies.”
Rives served as president of the United Way board and as campaign chairman. He also has served on a number of committees for the agency during his lengthy tenure. Rives and his wife, Ardis, remain active supporters of United Way. Rives is a retired regional manager of OG&E Electric Services.
Near the end of Thursday’s annual dinner and meeting, United Way Executive Director Pamela Ballard and incoming board President Yvonne Odom were talking about the 2013 campaign, and smoke started to pour from the podium.
Ballard said the only thing to do was to call the fire department. At that time several uniformed Enid firefighters entered the room. Ballard then announced Enid Fire Department had agreed to serve as chair of the next fundraising campaign.
Fire Marshal Ken Helms said United Way and its agencies do a lot for Enid, and the fire department was pleased to be campaign chair. Helms said when Ballard approached him, he discussed the idea with Fire Chief Joe Jackson. Helms and Ballard then talked to firefighters on each shift and received approval.
“Out of all those meetings, no one stood up and said it was a bad idea,” Helms said.
“Getting 81 firefighters to agree on anything is difficult.”
The campaign theme will be “Live Heroic, Give United.” Ballard said firefighters were uncomfortable with the hero title, but said the people who fill out the donation forms are the real heroes.
“I’ve worked in United Ways in towns across the state for 20 years, and I never saw a group be campaign chairs, and never a fire department,” Ballard said.
Helms said EFD staff has agreed to share responsibility for board meetings and other necessary functions, as the entire department works on meeting the funding goal. The goal has not been set.
Helms said official functions would be shared between Jackson, Assistant Chief Bill Burkhart and himself. Other staff members also may participate.
“We respond to 4,500 calls a year, but the United Way agencies respond to needs every day,” Helms said.
New officers and board members also were elected at the meeting. In addition to Odom as president, David Burrows was elected first vice president; Alan Clepper, second vice president; Aaron Brownlee, treasurer; Corey Groendyke, budget/allocation chair; Jessica Andrew, personnel/planning chair; and Clay Hutson, membership services chair.
The 2012 United Way funding campaign raised $751,000, with the funding going to 16 agencies.
Total allocations include $525,900 to agencies, $28,900 for venture grants, and $185,229 for administration, fundraising community support services and reserve for uncollectibles.
United Way agencies are: Booker T. Washington Community Center, Cimarron Council Boy Scouts of America, Cimarron Valley American Red Cross, Community Development Support Association, Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Denny Price Family YMCA, Enid Community Clinic, Enid Metropolitan Area Human Services Commission, Garfield County Child Advocacy Council, Hedges Regional Speech and Hearing Center, Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, Legal Aid of Oklahoma, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Salvation Army, YWCA of Enid and Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma.