gala

Pictured from left, United Way Executive Director Melissa Reabold, Immediate Past-President Patti O’Neill-Burn and Director of Resource Development Traci Dillard at a gala Thursday night. 

Volunteers that work with the United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County to better the community do not volunteer for recognition but rather the people. 

The nonprofit organization is volunteer-led, with an 18-member board of 

directors, hundreds of committee members and event-specific volunteers and corporate sponsors. 

To recognize their efforts, United Way held its annual awards and appreciation Starlight Gala at Springhill Suites Thursday night. 

“The impact United Way has had on the local community, helping agencies, those in need and being able to provide donors community investment options is only possible because we are volunteer-led,” United Way Executive Director Melissa Reabold said. “Without volunteers, we could not succeed. Volunteers uniting to make things happen are the reason we are celebrating tonight.” 

Three of this year’s employee campaign coordinators spoke at the event attended by nearly 200. This included Mike Bajer, director of MDI production at Covestro, Priscila Garza, Healthy Community School coordinator at Goose Creek CISD, and Zach Tillman, ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant mechanical supervisor. 

Tillman shared a personal story of an ExxonMobil volunteer that was working on landscaping for one of the houses at the Baytown Area Homeless Shelter. When one of the residents approached the volunteer, she asked her why she was giving her time for the shelter. The volunteer simply replied, “Because I care about you, and I want to serve you.”  

“That one little statement brought them to tears. That one little statement at that one volunteer event had that big of an impact on a real person’s life — simply knowing that someone cares for her,” Tillman, who was the employee campaign chair for this year’s United Way campaign, said. “If that doesn’t sum up volunteerism and the meaning of ‘live united’ I really don’t know what does. Best of all, that’s just one story. There’s thousands of others out there, and that’s why I chose to live united.” 

In the spirit of volunteerism, United Way recognized a volunteer that goes above and beyond expectations with the Live United award, naming Patti O’Neill-Burn, ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant Mechanical Department head, the 2018-2019 recipient. 

O’Neill-Burn us an active donor and volunteer, having led the organization as Board president for two years and now serves as immediate past-president. She also serves as vice chair for Baytown Area and Chambers County Disaster Recovery partnership, a United Way initiative formed in response to Hurricane Harvey. She secured several grants that fund the effort. She is also an active member of Women United’s steering committee. The affinity group of women leaders who contribute $1,000 or more each year recently underwent strategic planning that O’Neill-Burn was a part of. 

“She’s a very active member with the board, she’s an active member with our women leaders group, Women United, and she really is a friend. She’s been with me through thick and thin,” Reabold said. 

Board President Daryl Fontenot added O’Neill-Burn is the embodiment of what it means to be a United Way volunteer, and was proud to have served with her for the past five years. 

United Way presented, for the first time, the Employee Campaign Coordinator Rookie of the Year award and Employee Campaign Coordinator of the Year, which were given to Garza and Charles Davis, respectively. 

Reabold also recognized Diane Hughes Havenstein and Patricia Peace for their time and talent in leading the United Way’s largest initiative, Days of Caring. The volunteer-led initiative included volunteers from a dozen businesses who participated in a lot of different projects including repairing several homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey.   

Several companies, schools, local government and nonprofit organizations were also recognized for their level of campaign participation as well as overall giving. 

Texas First Bank received top mention for the gold awards. ExxonMobil Baytown Complex was recognized as lead in the Silver awards. CenterPoint Energy Bayport Texas took the top award in the bronze category. Education awards went to Goose Creek ISD with Impact Early College High School, Dr. Johnny T. Clark Junior School and Victoria Walker Elementary taking top awards. In the nonprofit category, Unlimited Visions Aftercare, Inc. took the top award.

United Way estimates 1,000 volunteers participated in support of its mission. For information about United Way, visit www.unitedwaygbacc.org

By Christopher James 

christopher.james@baytownsun.com 

Volunteers that work with the United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County to better the community do not volunteer for recognition but rather the people. 

The nonprofit organization is volunteer-led, with an 18-member board of 

directors, hundreds of committee members and event-specific volunteers and corporate sponsors. 

To recognize their efforts, United Way held its annual awards and appreciation Starlight Gala at Springhill Suites Thursday night. 

“The impact United Way has had on the local community, helping agencies, those in need and being able to provide donors community investment options is only possible because we are volunteer-led,” United Way Executive Director Melissa Reabold said. “Without volunteers, we could not succeed. Volunteers uniting to make things happen are the reason we are celebrating tonight.” 

Three of this year’s employee campaign coordinators spoke at the event attended by nearly 200. This included Mike Bajer, director of MDI production at Covestro, Priscila Garza, Healthy Community School coordinator at Goose Creek CISD, and Zach Tillman, ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant mechanical supervisor. 

Tillman shared a personal story of an ExxonMobil volunteer that was working on landscaping for one of the houses at the Baytown Area Homeless Shelter. When one of the residents approached the volunteer, she asked her why she was giving her time for the shelter. The volunteer simply replied, “Because I care about you, and I want to serve you.”  

“That one little statement brought them to tears. That one little statement at that one volunteer event had that big of an impact on a real person’s life — simply knowing that someone cares for her,” Tillman, who was the employee campaign chair for this year’s United Way campaign, said. “If that doesn’t sum up volunteerism and the meaning of ‘live united’ I really don’t know what does. Best of all, that’s just one story. There’s thousands of others out there, and that’s why I chose to live united.” 

In the spirit of volunteerism, United Way recognized a volunteer that goes above and beyond expectations with the Live United award, naming Patti O’Neill-Burn, ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant Mechanical Department head, the 2018-2019 recipient. 

O’Neill-Burn us an active donor and volunteer, having led the organization as Board president for two years and now serves as immediate past-president. She also serves as vice chair for Baytown Area and Chambers County Disaster Recovery partnership, a United Way initiative formed in response to Hurricane Harvey. She secured several grants that fund the effort. She is also an active member of Women United’s steering committee. The affinity group of women leaders who contribute $1,000 or more each year recently underwent strategic planning that O’Neill-Burn was a part of. 

“She’s a very active member with the board, she’s an active member with our women leaders group, Women United, and she really is a friend. She’s been with me through thick and thin,” Reabold said. 

Board President Daryl Fontenot added O’Neill-Burn is the embodiment of what it means to be a United Way volunteer, and was proud to have served with her for the past five years. 

United Way presented, for the first time, the Employee Campaign Coordinator Rookie of the Year award and Employee Campaign Coordinator of the Year, which were given to Garza and Charles Davis, respectively. 

Reabold also recognized Diane Hughes Havenstein and Patricia Peace for their time and talent in leading the United Way’s largest initiative, Days of Caring. The volunteer-led initiative included volunteers from a dozen businesses who participated in a lot of different projects including repairing several homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey.   

Several companies, schools, local government and nonprofit organizations were also recognized for their level of campaign participation as well as overall giving. 

Texas First Bank received top mention for the gold awards. ExxonMobil Baytown Complex was recognized as lead in the Silver awards. CenterPoint Energy Bayport Texas took the top award in the bronze category. Education awards went to Goose Creek ISD with Impact Early College High School, Dr. Johnny T. Clark Junior School and Victoria Walker Elementary taking top awards. In the nonprofit category, Unlimited Visions Aftercare, Inc. took the top award.

United Way estimates 1,000 volunteers participated in support of its mission. For information about United Way, visit www.unitedwaygbacc.org

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