United Way rings out 50th celebration

PLYMOUTH — It was a celebration that took 50 years in the making but it was well worth the wait.
Fifty years ago, local leaders formed an organization to lend a helping hand and contribute to a better way of life in Marshall County. From its early forms to becoming the United Way of Marshall County, the agency has truly done all it can to help many organizations that have made a difference in the lives of residents.
“So much good has come into existence because United Way existed,” said Jennifer Maddox, executive director of the United Way of Marshall County. “For an organization to sustain itself based on the generosity of a community, and to do that for 50 years is really quite an amazing thing.”
The celebration was capped with the organizations annual meeting and a concert from Plymouth native son, Denver Bierman.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the 50th celebration,” said Maddox. “When we sat down and planned this year, we asked the question ‘When the organization starts planning its 100th anniversary, what will they see we did at the 50th?’ We’ve put together a lot of history that if we hadn’t put it together might have been lost. It’s taken the hard work of lots of people to make this happen and to be able to see the past chairs who were able to make it tonight to be recognized— that’s what it’s all about.”
Jim and Susan Wagner were honored by the organization in its annual meeting receiving the President’s Award. United Way President Chris Eberly said that the work the couple did in co-chairing the United Way 50th anniversary committee made the decision an easy one.
The group was also able to meet it’s fundraising goal for the year of $450,000 — no small accomplishment in tough economic times.
Bierman took the stage after the meeting and ran through a set of favorites for his hometown audience that was a fitting end to a year of celebrating the impact of United Way.
“Tonight was a way of saying thank you to those who’ve made a difference and to the entire community,” said Maddox. “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. We’ve really pulled the community together in ways that go beyond just the campaign.”