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United Way recognizes top donors and volunteers

Submitted photos United Way of Otter Tail County named its top 25 employee campaigns of 2012 at a recent luncheon in Perham. Pictured are representatives from several of the winning companies.1 / 2
United Way's top five corporate gifts came from KLN Enterprises, Service Food Market, West Central Turkeys and Otter Tail Power Company (representatives pictured). Not pictured is a representative from Microsoft.2 / 2

United Way of Otter Tail County held a Community Impact Luncheon in Perham last week, celebrating some local volunteers and programs that have made a positive difference in the community over the last year.

Held at Calvary Lutheran Church on Jan. 16, the luncheon offered an opportunity for United Way's leaders to highlight the organization's impact in Otter Tail County in 2012, and it featured an awards ceremony recognizing top donors and volunteers.

Executive Director Mary Phillipe, speaking to those in attendance, said 2012 was a good year for the local United Way. Donations were up from the year before, the number of volunteers increased and more dollars were invested in charitable programs.

"We had a really fantastic year," Phillipe said. "I'm pleased to announce that we are currently at 93 percent of our (2012 campaign) goal."

In the Perham area, United Way partners with Calvary Lutheran Church, Kinship, Friends of Friends Fighting Hunger, the Boys and Girls Club and others to help provide goods and services to people in need.

Initiatives and events like mobile food drops, early childhood literacy, Coats for Kids, Stuff the Bus and the Turkey Trot, to name a few, all receive support from United Way.

But making these efforts successful also takes community support, through financial donations as well as donations of time, talent and resources.

In 2012, 257 businesses in Otter Tail County contributed to the United Way campaign. Some of those recognized at the luncheon were the top five corporate gifts, received from Otter Tail Power Company, KLN Enterprises, Service Food Market, Microsoft and West Central Turkeys.

The top 25 employee campaigns were also recognized. The top five of those were: UPS, Bremer Bank of Fergus Falls, Security State Bank of Fergus Falls, United Community Bank of Perham and Lakes Radio. Others on the list included New York Mills Public School and Lakes Country Service Cooperative.

United Way also named its top three volunteers of 2012.

Lon Moe, the owner of Rainbow Cleaners in Fergus Falls, was honored for his contributions to the Coats for Kids program. For more than 10 years, Moe has been providing cleaning services in-kind for hundreds of donated coats.

Pam Williams, owner of The Williams Company Store in Ottertail, was recognized for her strong support of the Friends of Friends Fighting Hunger initiative, and for her participation in United Way's 'Buck Shops Here' event, which supports early childhood literacy programs in the county.

The third recognition for top volunteer actually went to two people: the mother-daughter team of Phyllis Torgrimson and Kim Kallhoff, of Dalton, for their work with Caring Neighbors. Caring Neighbors provides new and gently used clothing to people in need, and partners with mobile food drops to help distribute those clothes around a wider area.

In all, United Way of Otter Tail County raised and distributed $307,317.61 to more than 30 programs last year.