United Way of Northeast Louisiana hosted a very special "Celebrating Excellence" awards reception today to honor the outstanding employee campaigns and individuals for their extraordinary efforts and unwavering commitment to helping people and improving community. The 2010 campaign was a successful one with the community coming together to raise $3,215,000 -- a 7% increase and the largest increase in ten years. Clyde White, 2010 campaign chair, attributed the success to local businesses and their employees who worked very hard to increase their campaigns, generous giving of individuals through United Way's leadership societies, and the hard work of the campaign cabinet volunteers who were instrumental in this year's success. Janet Durden, president, told the crowd, "As always, the generosity of this community is overwhelming. You are all living united and this is truly a year to celebrate that. I'm inspired by each and every one of you."
The prestigious Cypress Award was presented for the eighth year. This award is the highest honor given to a local company and its employees by United Way of Northeast Louisiana. The award is a striking photograph taken by Melvin Rambin that travels from company to company each year. This year's winner, ANGUS Chemical/USW 786, demonstrated their commitment to the community by running an exemplary campaign, promoting year-round awareness of Untied Way's impact in the community, and actively volunteering with United Way.
Recognizing that a strong community is a reflection of dedicated corporate and employee support, the Circle of Honor, Special Achievement, and Campaign Leaders Awards were also presented. The Circle of Honor award recognizes those platinum level companies that support United Way's purpose through their corporate and employee giving, best practices, and non-financial contributions. This year, there were 58 companies at this level. They are: Affiliated Mortgage Corp; Allen, Green & Williamson; ANGUS Chemical/USW Local 786; Argent Financial Group; Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management; Associated Business Printing; BancorpSouth; Bank of Ruston; Capital One Bank; Centric Federal Credit Union; CenturyLink; Community Financial Insurance Center LLC; Entergy - Sterlington; Faulk & Foster Real Estate; Financial Institution Service Corporation; First National Bank; Hogan Hardwoods; Holyfiled Construction; Hulsey, Harwood & Sheridan LLC; Hunt, Guillot & Associates; iBERIABANK; InterMountain Management LLC; Jim Taylor Chevrolet; Jim Taylor Ford; Lazenby & Associates; Lincoln Builders; Luffey, Huffman, Ragsdale & Soignier; North Louisiana Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic; Northeast Louisiana Cancer Institute; Ouachita Fertilizer; Ouachita Independent Bank; Ouachita Parish Assessor's Office; P&S Surgical Hospital; Poly Corr LLC; Progressive Bank; Radiology Associates; Reeves, Coon & Funderburg; Regions Bank; Richland State Bank; Ryan Auto Group; S.E. Huey Company; Scott Equipment Companies - Scott Powerline & Utility Equipment LLC - Scott Truck LLC - the Thomas H. and Mayme P. Scott Foundation, Inc.; Snellings, Breard, Sartor, Inabnett & Trascher LLP; Southern Apparatus; Steel Fabricators of Monroe LLC; Strauss Interests; Stuart C. Irby; The News-Star; Thomas & Farr Aency, Inc.; United Way of Northeast Louisiana; UPS Delhi; UPS Monroe; UPS Ruston; and Voith Paper Fabric & Roll Systems, Inc.
The Special Achievement Award honors gold level companies that focus on their corporate and employee giving and best practices. There were 14 companies at this level. They are AIMS, Inc.; AT&T; Berry Plastics; Dean Morris, LLP; Entergy - West Monroe; Hatch, Mott MacDonald; ITW Monroe Packaging; Monroe Area Guidance; Monroe Chamber of Commerce, New York Life Insurance Company; Ouachita Parish Green Oaks Detention Center; Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Department; Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union; and TXI.
Campaign Leaders Awards were presented to the companies raising the most dollars in the 2010 Campaign through their corporate and employee giving. The top three companies were also recognized at the Gold, Silver and Bronze levels. They were: CenturyLink - $371,092 (Gold); Strauss Interests - $130,830 (Silver); St. Francis Medical Center - $126,063 (Bronze); Community Trust Bank - $114,113; ANGUS Chemical and USW Local 786 - $96,452; Graphic Packaging International Mills Division Plant 31 and USW 364 & Graphic Packaging International Beverage Packaging Division Plant 70 and USW 654 - $88,322; Chase - $85,000; P&S Surgical Hospital - $70,828; Ouachita Independent Bank - $64,055; Entergy - West Monroe - $61,189; and Monroe City Schools - $50,967.
In addition, there were fourteen companies that recieved New Campaign Awards. United Way president, Janet Durden, stated, "Together these new campaigns raised $82,065 and were critical to the success of the campaign." New campaigns in 2010 were: Carroll Home Health; Don M. Barron Contractor, Inc.; Foster Farms; G.B. Cooley; Gardner Denver Thomas; Green Clinic; LaSalle Corrections/M&T Properties; Lincoln Healthcare; Monroe Surgical Hospital; North Louisiana Economic Partnership; Northeast LA Technical College; Seasons; Steel Fabricators of Monroe, LLC; and Weyerhaeuser.
A very special award that was added this year was that of Outstanding Employee Campaign Manager. This honor was given based on criteria of working diligently to overcome barriers in order to meet the employee campaign goal, engaging and inspiring the campaign team, and "living united". Dr. Melissa Melancon of the University of Louisiana at Monroe was recognized with this award for her outstanding commitment to our community.