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Friday, December 12th marked the occasion of the 2014 Ohio Valley Goodwill Holiday Luncheon held at the prestigious Sharonville Convention Center. Sponsored by the organization’s Board of Directors, this year’s celebration welcomed more than 200 guests including Goodwill employees, referral agencies, vendor partners, volunteers and long-time friends. Special guests included Representative Denise Driehaus, Mayor Susan Upton Farley, Police Chief Jeff Witte, Superintendents Sharon Woodrow and Megan Manuel, Asst. Superintendent Bill Caplinger and Matt Briner, HCDDS. Attendees enjoyed the seasonal music provided by the Laura Hazelbacker Trio, a long-time feature of the annual luncheon party. This year’s menu included vegetarian lasagna, lemon chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans and Caesar salad finished off with apple pie.
Goodwill President and CEO Joe Byrum began this year’s program by recognizing the Sharonville Convention Center, James Downton, Executive Director and Ovations Catering for not only the excellent meal enjoyed by today’s honored guests but also for their support and sponsorship of the annual Homeless Awareness Holiday dinner event. This year’s dinner welcomed more than 400 guests, 85 of which were children aged 16 and younger. “We are very grateful to the Sharonville Convention Center and Ovations Catering for their wonderful generosity and incredible effort in making the annual Homeless Awareness Holiday dinner possible,” said Joe Byrum, President and CEO. “Thank you for all that you and your team do to make this important community event possible.”
This year’s program began with a formal check presentation to Ohio Valley Goodwill in support of its programs and services from the organization’s volunteer Service Guild. The group of dedicated volunteers operate the Treasure Island Gift Shop and conduct a number of fund-raising events throughout the year in order to support Goodwill’s mission. This year, Guild President Sue Burreson, presented three separate checks. The first check presentation was to Lois Kramer, CARE Program Supervisor, in the amount of $1000 to support the individuals served through the award-winning Center for Advocacy, Recreation and Education (CARE).
The second check presentation was to Bill Darnell, representing Goodwill’s Veterans Services programs and was in the amount of $5000. The final check presentation was to Joe Byrum, President and CEO, and was in the amount of $20,000. “I’m always so grateful to the Guild for their hard work and commitment to Ohio Valley Goodwill and the people we serve,” said Byrum. “We really count on their support every year and appreciate their volunteerism on behalf of our mission.”
The 2014 holiday celebration also served as a tenure recognition ceremony for eight members of the Goodwill staff team that have been with the organization for 20 years. Kibra Besera, Cathy Parsley, Esther Stratton, Gary Finn, Galen Gaines, Carolyn Rayford, Todd Schreiber and Dianne Holcomb were all recognized for 20 years of service and received a leather jacket in celebration of their dedication to Goodwill and its mission. In addition, Anna Gabbard was recognized for 40 years of service and Nancy Wooley for 41 years. Both received a bouquet of red roses.
In a special ceremony, members of the 2014 Extreme Car Make-Over team were called to the stage to receive plaques for their extraordinary efforts in support of the Goodwill Auto Auction. Dale Donovan, Donovan’s Tire, Dave Brinkman of Frank’s CarStar, Bill Mountel and Ann Remmy of 55KRC Radio were all called to the stage and thanked by Joe Byrum, President and CEO in partnership with Kim Masters, Auto Auction Manager and George Palmer, Director of Marketing for their efforts on behalf of Goodwill.
The Superior Automotive Group was also recognized by the Goodwill team for their contributions and partnership with Goodwill since 2012. Over that time period, 83 cars have been donated and more than $111,000 has been raised in support of the organization’s mission of service to individuals with disabilities and our nation’s veterans. John Betagole, Owner of the Superior Group, Steve Massey, Vice President and Jason Henning, Business Development Manager were all called to the stage to be recognized and thanked for their support.
Finally, President and CEO, Joe Byrum, thanked the assembled honored guests for everything they do to support Ohio Valley Goodwill and the thousands of individuals that the organization serves each year. “For the past 98 years, we have been helping men and women with disabilities and our nation’s veterans to achieve personal success. It is thanks to all of you that our mission is made possible.”
The 2014 Goodwill Holiday Luncheon event closed with a special video presentation produced by Public Information Officer, Michael Flannery, which featured Goodwill team members expressing their thoughts from the heart about their involvement with Ohio Valley Goodwill. Flannery not only produced the video but also played the musical background for the film which added a very poignant touch to the holiday-themed montage. The video ended fittingly with “Goodwill to all and Peace on Earth.”