March 29, 2018

United Way campaign reaches its goal

The smiles came easily. So did the praise. A long campaign has ended in success for the United Way of Stephens County.

Businesses, industries, groups, foundations, civic and social clubs, churches and individuals combined generous efforts with sheer determination to reach an aggressive $325,000 campaign goal for 2017-18.

“Amazing!” District Judge and campaign co-chairman Ken Graham grinned. “This year’s campaign demonstrates the willingness of Stephens County residents to truly ‘Live United’ Thanks to everyone for helping us meet our goal.

“It has been a tremendous journey for DeDe and me,” he said of his co-chairman wife. “Thanks and kudos to all of the volunteers and donors who made this a wonderful ‘Good Friday.’”

Their excitement was shared by many, particularly Lucy Parker, General Operations Leader of Wilco Machine & Fab and chairman of the United Way board of directors.

“We are incredibly grateful for the community support of our amazing agencies,” she said. “Duncan and Stephens County are blessed with the greatest volunteers who have worked so hard to make meeting our goal a reality. We are truly thankful for each and every one.”

Monies generated by the organization’s 64th campaign will help support 12 participating agencies that include Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Stephens County, Christians Concerned, Douglass East Side Senior Citizens Center, Duncan Area Literary Council, Duncan Community Residence, Duncan Senior Citizens Center, Gabriel’s House Academy, Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, Heartline 2-1-1, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Marlow Samaritans and Women’s Haven.

Highlights of the campaign were many.

* The 2017-18 goal was 8.3 percent more than a year ago.

* L.E. Jones Operating Inc. helped launch the campaign kickoff Aug. 25 at halftime of Duncan High’s season opening football game in Halliburton Stadium.

* Team members at Duncan Regional Hospital surpassed the $50,000 donation level, giving or pledging $52,034.

* Eight restaurants took part in two first-ever Dine United events, sharing a percentage of dinner proceeds with the United Way.

Participants, listed alphabetically, included Don Jose Mexican Restaurant, Interurban, Jonny’s at Oak Tree, La Taqueria, Rib Crib, The Prairie House at The Territory in Duncan; Giuseppe’s Italian Dining in Marlow; and Don Jose Tortilla Grill in Comanche.

*More than 1,000 giving units, business or individual, were recorded.

* More than $1 million has been raised by generous county residents during depressed economic times to help support local United Way agencies over the past three years.

* Betty Beck, head of volunteer services at Duncan Regional Hospital, chaired the 2017-18 campaign committee.

* Lisa Byford, vice president – treasury at BancFirst, Duncan coordinated the Loaned Executive Division that made nearly 50 corporate and business presentations.

Significant business and corporate leaders, alphabetically, included, Anheuser-Busch, Arvest Bank, ASCOG, AT&T, BancFirst-Duncan, BancFirst-Marlow, Bank of Commerce, Bonney and Campbell LLC,Centerpoint Energy, Dolese Bros. Co., Duncan Anesthesia, Duncan Community Residence;

 Duncan Public Schools, Duncan Regional Hospital, Ellis and Buckholts, First Bank and Trust, First National Bank of Velma, Halliburton Federal Credit Union, Halliburton Giving Choices, IBC Bank, Insurance One,  L.E. Jones Operating Inc., Mack Energy and McCasland Foundation;

Oneok Services Co., Philtek Services, Red River Technology. Shepherd and Shepherd CPAs, Simmons Center, Stephens County Abstract, Stephens County Courthouse,  The Chickasaw Nation, The City of Duncan, The Duncan Banner, The Jones Oil Co., Universal Fidelity Insurance, Walmart, Walmart Foundation and WW Builders.

Leading individual contributors were Tommy and Phyllis Daughtrey, Terry and Kathy Snider, Ron and Cynthia Corley, Ken and DeDe Graham, Marty and Dana Askins, Jay Johnson, Tim Hunter, Jeffrey Taylor, Hal Labyer, Dana Berryhill, Alan Sing, Vickie Contreras, Joe and Carol Adams, Larry Albin, Ed and Betty Apple;

Fallis and Sue Beall, Susan Camp, Dr. Demetra Cox, Steven and Nancy Gray, Marilyn Hugon, Dr. Kent Hall. Marilyn McEnroe, Gene Nelson Family Endowment, Lyle and Kim Roggow, Chris Schreckengost, Blaine Smith, Yancy Spivey, Elwood Vogel, Don and Kim Weaks and Jerry and Betty Whitten.

The generosity of 92 others earned them recognition as members of the 2017-18 Leadership Circle.

Campaign leaders are hopeful other donations will continue to flow into the United Way office at 12 South 8th Street, Duncan or P.O. Box 1632, Duncan.

The local United Way started as the Community Chest in 1954 when Eric Murray was its first president and Howard McCasland its first campaign chairman.

It became the Duncan United Fund in 1967, the United Way of Duncan in 1976 and the United Way of Stephens County in 1993.

A 15-member board governs the umbrella agency. Officers other than Parker are Zac Pogue of First National Bank and Trust in Velma, chairman-elect; Jared Head of Wilco, treasurer; Adrianne Arrington of Jay Kinder Real Estate, secretary; and Nicole Punneo of Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation (DAEDF), past chairman.

Other board members in addition to Beck and Byford, are Darren Alaniz of Philtek Services, Lourie Bleem of Family Dollar, Carl Buckholts of Ellis and Buckholts, Tracy Fleetwood of the City of Duncan, Eric Hennan of Shelter Insurance, Jeff Johnson of The Tilley Group; Anthony Prince of State Farm Insurance; and Janice Schornick of First Bank and Trust.

Helen Stewart is administrative assistant for the organization. Ed Darling is its executive director.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, contact Ed Darling at (580) 255-3648 or