United Way Event Raises $40,000

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BERKELEY HEIGHTS – United Way of Greater Union County hosted their Celebration annual event by ‘Painting the Town Red’ at the Atrium at Connell Corporate Park in Berkeley Heights on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Over 175 attendees came out to support the honorees and indulge in great food and sample desserts from local Union County residents and businesses.  Merck and Infineum served as this year’s host sponsors. This year United Way successfully raised over $40,000 through ticket sales, sponsorship, and silent auction/tricky tray.

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United Way of Greater Union County’s annual Celebration brings together United Way supporters and partner organizations to honor the work of noted people and organizations in Union County. It also serves as a forum to celebrate the accomplishments of the previous year and the kick-off of the 2009 – 2010 campaign.

Executive Director of PROCEED, Teresa Soto Vega, received the highest honors of the night – The Dell Raudelunas Spirit of Caring Award. This award is given to individuals in Union County who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to community service. The Spirit of Caring Award is named after Dell Raudelunas, United Way’s former CEO.

As the leader of PROCEED, Inc., Union County’s oldest community agency founded by Hispanics, that addresses the general population and growing social, health and economic needs of the Latino and non-Latino communities, Teresa has used her knowledge and expertise to improve the quality life of the less fortunate.

She has authored and co-authored proposals that have brought important programs in areas of child abuse prevention, substance abuse treatment, HIV prevention, home energy conservation, preschool, youth, and senior citizen services to residents of Union County. Mrs. Soto Vega is a true example of a person who displays passion and commitment to her community by unselfishly giving back.

Human Resources Manager Elizabeth Garcia and Chemical Plant Manager John Englishman accepted The Outstanding Corporate Partner Award on behalf of Infineum USA LP. The award is presented to a company in Union County that exhibits extraordinary commitment to helping Union County and its residents. Past recipients have included Schering Plough Corporation and Elizabethtown Gas.

Infineum’s community outreach activities consist of helping many local organizations through company contributions, fundraisers for local non-profit organizations, and collection of items for donations to needy people.  At the Linden sites, the United Way Employee Campaign is the primary fundraising event of the year. Through annual Campaign, Infineum employees make contributions which are matched by Infineum.

The funds are then distributed by United Way of Greater Union County to organizations that are in need of funds or services. In addition to monetary donations, employees participate in numerous outreach activities, such as building of children’s play areas, to help support agencies through sweat equity efforts. Infineum’s support for United Way has in part allowed the organization to continue to serve the many health and human service needs in the community. In supporting United Way, the company addresses the broadest possible set of pressing needs in the community.

The Community Cornerstone Award is given to those who Live United not only in their respective communities, but in Union County as a whole. These individuals have given their time, talent, and resources to make a difference in the lives of others. Their good works will have a lasting impact and has contributed greatly to advancing the common good for all.  This year’s awardees were Christopher D. Armstrong, Esq. and Charles Gillon.

Armstrong has a long history of community involvement. His United Way career began over 30 years ago when he joined the Rahway United Way (then known as the “Rahway United Fund”) as a member of the board in 1975. Armstrong was the President of the Rahway United Way when it merged with United Way of Eastern Union County [now known as United Way of Greater Union County (UWGUC)].

Armstrong has served UWGUC in many capacities including serving as President/Chairperson of the Board. He currently serves as the chair of the organization’s Personnel Committee which oversees the employment and personnel policies.

Charles Gillon is an experienced public servant, who has a track record of integrity, excellence, and success in non-profit organizations, as well as county government. Gillon currently serves as the Director of the Union County Division of Social Services. Gillon has served as a Senior Planner for United Way of Greater Union County, where he was involved in fund raising, as well as, writing grants, and coordinating the United Way’s Union County Community Development Block Grant applications and allocation processes.

Gillon is a very active volunteer, and is a member of a host of volunteer boards and committees in Union County. The work experiences in both the non-profit and government sectors, as well as, his academic training, has provided the necessary skills Gillon needs to continue to be successful as he continues to lead one of the largest governmental entities within Union County.

The proceeds from this year’s event will support United Way of Greater Union County’s Community Impact Fund which focuses on Health, Education, and Income related programs.


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