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Appreciation Lunch Honors Volunteers

Euless resident Ellen Jones and First Command Financial Services, Inc. were honored with the Individual Volunteer Award and Corporate Volunteer Award, respectively, at an April 17 United Way Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon that saluted all United Way volunteers.

Award finalists were Sharon Leite and Pat Gleason-Wynn. (See the video tribute to our winners and finalists above and photo album below.) 

Ellen Jones’ volunteer service with United Way spans two decades. She serves on the United Way Steering Committee and Education Council and is a member of the allocations team. She is also a Leadership donor.

In addition to her work with United Way, Ellen (shown at left with United Way CEO Tim McKinney) is the current President of the Board of Trustees for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford School District, tutors students in math, and mentors Trinity High School students. She plays guitar and works with youth on Wednesday evenings at St. Michael Catholic Church in Bedford and is a published author. Ellen advocates for education causes at both the state and federal levels.

First Command Financial Services‘ 2014 United Way Employee Campaign ManagersMarnie Flynn and Michelle Eiland accepted the Corporate Volunteer Award on behalf of the company. Under their direction, the First Command United Way campaign grew by 8% over 2013. Marnie and Michelle worked tirelessly with United Way staff to add best practices to the campaign, along with original ideas that took advantage of the culture of First Command.

Aside from the campaign, First Command offered year-round engagement opportunities that included not just giving, but advocating and volunteering. By bringing in Lunch and Learns to educate employees about United Way’s work, itengaged more people and encouraged volunteerism throughout the year. The company offers volunteer time during work hours to all employees.

Tim McKinney told the luncheon attendees that it was because of each of them that United Way is able to do the work it does to improve the community. “Whether you participated in a Day of Caring, served on a United Way committee, council or board, or helped with one of our Impact areas such as VITA or our annual campaign, you have helped to showcase the United Way mission, and we are extremely thankful for each and every one of you,” he said.

Last year more than 5,000 United Way volunteers contributed over 31,500 volunteer hours valued at $698,340.

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Charles Clark, the Head Custodian of Trinity High School in Euless for the last 24 years, spoke at the luncheon about his involvement with Trinity students, whom he encourages to get a higher education. Students praise Charles (pictured at right with wife Ellen) for listening to them, but most importantly, for caring about them. “I just love helping people,” Charles told the audience. “Those kids look for somebody to make them feel like they are somebody.The thing I instill in my kids is find your niche in life like I found mine.”

A student scholarship award named after Charles has been established at Trinity High school. He also has received a variety of honors, including the Texas Legislative Black Caucus Unsung Hero Award. He has been featured in People magazine’s “Hero Among Us” column, and recently was spotlighted in a segment of the CBS Evening News series “On the Road with Steve Hartman.”