September 16, 2015, Fort Smith – United Way of Fort Smith Area kicked off its 2015 Campaign with a celebration luncheon at the Fort Smith Convention Center in Fort Smith. A large crowd attended the event including community leaders, United Way’s leadership, volunteers and agency representatives. United Way President, Eddie Lee Herndon gave the welcome and introduction of the United Way Community Partner Agencies. The agency directors came in through a cheer line made up of United Way board members, tho the Theme from the movie “Rocky”. One of goals this year for President, Eddie Lee Herndon is to bring back the FUN, and this event did just that! Ray Minkle, Director of Human Resources for Sparks Health System, presented a check for $40,000 to United Way President, Eddie Lee Herndon and then led the group in a United Way cheer!

United Way Board Chair, Bill Hanesworth from Littlefield Oil introduced 2015 Campaign Chair, Beth Presley from Arvest Bank. Beth addressed the crowd saying, “As the saying goes in sports, always give 100% effort.  The United Way team has the right attitude and effort to succeed in the 2015 campaign.  The level of commitment from the staff, board, volunteers and agencies will set ourselves up to tackle the challenges ahead and the winners in the end will be the communities the United Way serves”.

BHC Insurance was named the 2015 Pacesetter of the Year.  Points were given if the company met the specified criteria; BHC Insurance received the highest score. Pacesetters run their campaign during the month of August to help jumpstart the United Way fund drive. 2015 Campaign Chair, Beth Presley announced the Pacesetter campaign total to date of $1,012,495.00!

The goal of the campaign is to continue meeting the needs of the community. In 2014, the campaign raised over $2 million dollars, all of which was reinvested back into the community. The goal for the 2015 campaign is to increase donor participation. If you would like to hold a workplace campaign and help us in our effort, please call Penni Burns or Mitzy Little at 479 782 1311.

The Pacesetter companies are: Arc for the River Valley; ArcBest Corporation and its subsidiaries; ATU-Ozark Campus; Arvest Bank; AT&T; Baldor Electric Company; BancorpSouth; BHC Insurance; Citizens Bank & Trust; Community National Bank of Booneville; Experian; Farmers Bank; First National Bank of Fort Smith; Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club; Golden Living; Greenwood Public Schools; Hanna Oil & Gas;  Next Step Homeless Services; Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Ozark Area Youth Organization; Pernod Ricard; Rheem Manufacturing Corporation; Sparks Health System; Stepping Stone School;  UPS-Fort Smith; UPS-Sallisaw, and USA Truck.

United Way of Fort Smith Area serves Crawford, Franklin, Logan and Sebastian counties in Arkansas and LeFlore and Sequoyah counties in Oklahoma. Its mission is to improve lives by connecting people and resources in its six-county area.