Pogue named United Way chairman

Velma banker and rancher Zac Pogue has been named chairman of the board of directors for the United Way of Stephens County.

He assumes the leadership role for the 64-year-old umbrella organization that helps fund a dozen county agencies Sunday, July 1.

Pogue, a long-time United Way supporter and leader, replaces out-going chairman Lucy Parker.

“I am honored to be chairman of the United Way of Stephens County,” he said. “It has an important history in Stephens County and its credibility is high because of the time community leaders have and continue to invest in organizations that help local people and make a positive difference.”

Pogue’s elevation to chairman was one of several highlights at the United Way’s annual meeting here Thursday that celebrated a successful year and shared appreciation for the work of volunteers who made that success possible.

“We’ve had a great year,” Parker said. “Our agencies continue to help those who need assistance. Our generous donors helped us exceed our fund-raising goal. And our programs like “A Day of Caring”, “Readers & Leaders” and “Dine United” enabled us to touch local people of all ages.

“Our message is a heart-felt ‘thank you’. Having hundreds of people pull together throughout the year makes a huge impact. We’re honored to be a catalyst for that effort and encourage everyone to embrace the work of our agencies and their remarkable volunteers.”

Campaign committee chairman Betty Beck said a comprehensive plan and “sheer hard work” keyed the success.

Campaign co-chairmen Ken and DeDe Graham praised more than 1,200 donor units who combined to exceed an ambitious $325,000 goal.

Arvest Bank, BancFirst-Duncan, Bank of Commerce, The Chickasaw Nation, Tommy and Phyllis Daughtrey, Duncan Public Schools, Duncan Regional Hospital, First Bank and Trust, Halliburton Giving Choices, L.E. Jones Operating Co., Mack Energy and the McCasland Foundation, Universal Fidelity, Walmart and Wilco-NOV were singled out as leaders of the leaders.

Special recognition was accorded Larry Harris as Volunteer of the Year.

Almost singled handedly, he refurbished the giant thermometer progress boards throughout the county, creating one new board, adding stability to counter weather conditions and placing them in strategic locations for high visibility.

Loaned executive chairman Lisa Byford acknowledged the work of her group, noting more than half of the monies raised came through loaned executive accounts.

Team members included Dacia Anderson, Lynn Bailey, Beck, Sharon Burum, Angela Christian, Natalie Cole, Kassie Gilmore, Eric Hennan, Carolyn Pollock, Melinda Roop and Bethany Stewart.

Also recognized, by committee chairman Jan Schornick, were members of the allocations committee who establish the annual giving profile after reviewing applications, touring agency sites and visiting with agency leaders.

On the 2017-18 committee were Kristen Arrington, Beck, Lourie Bleem, Gene Brown, Carl Buckholts, Byford, Roger Calger, Mary Frances Cox, Sheila Crissman, Chris Deal, Tracy Fleetwood, Chris Genn, Dee Hightower, Curtis Holmes, Parker, Pogue, Carolyn Pollock, Nicole Punneo, Blaine Smith, Joe Vermedahl and Butch Whitten.
Displaying its diversified community role, United Way programs “A Day of Caring,” “Readers & Leaders” and “Dine United” also drew praise.

Under the direction of committee chairman Kristen Arrington, more than 150 volunteers pitched in to handle 19 projects for United Way agencies and not-for-profit organizations in Stephens County.

Major corporate support came from Ace Hardware, BancFirst, Chisholm Corner, DAEDF, Duncan Builders, Duncan Noon Lions Club, Michael Harris, KSWO-TV, McCoy’s Building Supply, Precision Recovery, Smith-Dressler Electrical Supply, The Comanche Times, The Duncan Banner, The Marlow Review, The Lawton Constitution, YS Asset Management and Walmart.

Coordinator Patty Jennings noted “Readers & Leaders” enjoyed its best year ever with 43 volunteer readers spending 30 minutes a week reading to more than 700 students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade students in the Duncan Public School System throughout the year.

Key support came from The Palace Theatre and Chisholm Corner.

And eight area restaurants shared a portion of their proceeds on special evenings as part of the new Dine United program.

Participants included Don Jose Mexican Restaurant, Don Jose Tortilla Grill, Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, Interurban, Jonny’s at Oak Tree, LaTaqueria, Rib Crib and The Prairie House at The Territory.

“Our goal,” Pogue said, looking ahead, “is to continue and perhaps even expand our services to those in need. We’d like to identify other agencies as new partners and our board will continue to personify and humanize the campaign and the services provided by our partner agencies.

“We’re so proud of the work done by agency volunteers. We’re also proud of the generous people and businesses who support them. We will continue everything we can to make certain every dollar is stretched as far as possible in reaching as many needs as we can.”

The United Way of Duncan is located at 12 South 8th Street, Suite 9 in Duncan. Its mailing address is P.O. Box 1632, Duncan, OK 73534. Its phone number is (580) 255-3648 and its email address is assistant@unitedwayofsc.org.