United Way of Oxford honors unsung heroes


OXFORD – The United Way of Oxford and Vicinity kicked off its 2016 campaign on Tuesday, Aug. 30, by honoring local volunteers who have made a huge impact on the agencies, organizations and people they choose to serve through their volunteer efforts.

Kei Brown was honored in the Young Leader Category for her work with the Builder’s Club at Talawanda Middle School. Brown’s leadership increased club membership four-fold and helped the group log the most hours in a single school year since the club’s founding. Brown was joined by her family at the ceremony, including her mother Tomoko, who is a past nominee.

In the College Student category, recipients Sarah Crabtree and Cameron Snyders were honored for their work within Miami’s Greek community. Crabtree led the Panhellenic Council this past school year, while Snyders headed up the Interfraternity Council. Together, Crabtree and Snyders worked to seek a more active role for the Greek community within the greater Oxford area through volunteer efforts which impacted hundreds of people.

Miami University faculty member Ashley Johnson received the Emerging Leader Award for her role in creating and facilitating a post-secondary college program for adults with cognitive disabilities on Miami’s campus. This Inclusive University Program (IUP) brings together Miami students and transition-aged learners with cognitive disabilities to experience college together.

“Johnson inspires many young teacher candidates and other Miami students to embrace the diversity of our society and engage in inclusive practices throughout all aspects of their lives,” UW Executive Director Brian Revalee said in a press release.

For the past 27 years, Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity has stood with PARACHUTE: Butler County CASA to impact the lives of abused and neglected children throughout Butler County. As an organization of women committed to spreading the widest influence for good, the Miami chapter of KAƟ has contributed over $17,000 to PARACHUTE, as well as countless volunteer hours. For their commitment to the CASA program in Butler County, Kappa Alpha Theta was awarded the Group Award at the event.

The 2016 Live United Award was presented to Bob Ratterman to Alice Laatsch, a long-time community volunteer and steadfast supporter of the Oxford Community Choice Pantry for many years. The evening was capped off with the presentation of the Community Heroes Award, selected by the United Way of Oxford’s Board of Directors. This year’s honors were awarded to Jim and Sarah Michael for their continued support of numerous Oxford area programs, including the United Way, Oxford Community Arts Center, Planned Parenthood, Holy Trinity Church and the Miami Audubon Society.

Revalee announced at the event, which was sponsored by La Rosa’s of Oxford, that the United Way of Oxford and Vicinity has set a goal of $250,000 for this campaign, of which $89,275 had been raised as of the evening of the event, representing just over 34 percent of their goal.

“We can do a lot of good if we meet our goal this year,” Revalee said.

Each of the agencies funded through the United Way of Oxford attended the ceremony, displaying information and answering questions about the services offered locally.

“The great thing about the United Way is that we have worldwide recognition, but the dollars raised in Oxford, stay in Oxford,” Revalee added.

To find out how you can contribute to the United Way of Oxford and Vicinity’s 2016 campaign, call 513-523-0991 or visit www.uwoxford.org.

By Eddie Mowen Jr.

[email protected]

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