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United Way honors Peppers, Johnson and top campaigns

United Way Chair Lew Holloway and Executive Director Denise Cumbee Long present the Rob and Ginger Cranford Community Service Award to Ronnie and Roxanna Pepper. United Way Chair Lew Holloway and Executive Director Denise Cumbee Long present the Rob and Ginger Cranford Community Service Award to Ronnie and Roxanna Pepper.

United Way of Henderson County announced the recipients of distinguished awards to community leaders and corporate giving partners at its annual United Way Celebration on Thursday.

The event was held in the parking lot of United Way’s offices at 722 Fifth Avenue West and was also designed to celebrate UWHC’s move back to this facility after the organization spent the previous nine years at the Kimberly-Clark Berkeley campus.

“We were thrilled to gather in person again and thank the many individuals and community partners that make our work possible,” UWHC Executive Director Denise Cumbee Long said.

Two awards were presented to individuals receiving special recognition.

The Rob and Ginger Cranford Community Service Award, sponsored by Morrow Insurance Company, is presented annually to an individual or couple who exemplify the extraordinary community service that Rob and Ginger Cranford demonstrated throughout their lives. This year’s Cranford Award honored Ronnie and Roxanna Pepper.

“The Peppers have been longtime Henderson County volunteers and advocates,” Long said. “Through their long careers and decades of volunteer service, they have made a big impact in our community and have received multiple well-deserved awards over the years for their civic spirit and community engagement. We are delighted to honor them with this year’s prestigious Cranford Award.”

The Edward C. Brisley, Jr. Award, sponsored by Ken Adams at Edward Jones and named for a beloved former Executive Director of United Way of Henderson County, is presented to an individual in recognition of outstanding volunteer service to United Way. This year’s Brisley Award was given to Henry Johnson. A retired U.S. Air Force colonel, Johnson was recruited to join the United Way Board in 1997 and then became executive director after several years. After stepping down from these roles, he continued to serve as a volunteer, most recently as United Way’s 2020 Campaign co-chair.

The celebration also included the presentation of annual campaign awards given to companies that went above and beyond in their support of their community through employee and corporate giving to United Way:

  • The United Way Employee Giving Award, in recognition of highest overall employee contributions, was presented to Wilsonart International, and the United Way Outstanding Campaign Giving Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the 2020 Campaign, was presented to Meritor, Inc. Over the past 16 years, Wilsonart and their employees have contributed more than $2.5 million to United Way. Meritor also has a long history of partnership with United Way and has provided over $1.7 million in corporate and employee contributions over the past 20 years.
  • The United Way Live United Award, given in recognition of a model employee campaign was presented to Publix. Publix stores are consistently one of the top United Way contributors in the country.
  • The United Way Rise United Award, given in recognition of companies making a big impact in Henderson County through diversified support, was presented to Dampp-Chaser Electronics Corporation. Dampp-Chaser is one of the founding members of United Way’s Small Business League and has several employees who volunteer with United Way initiatives.
  • The Community Champion Award was presented to Kimberly-Clark at Berkeley Mills in recognition of their company culture of giving and longstanding partnership with United Way and other nonprofits in Henderson County.

“Kimberly-Clark’s support of United Way has been especially remarkable,” said Lew Holloway, United Way Board Chair. “Back in 2013, Kimberly-Clark provided office space free of charge to United Way which benefited our organization for nine years. And they continue to be one of our biggest supporters through their employee campaigns, corporate support, and the annual golf tournament they organize to benefit United Way.”

“And the offices here at 722 Fifth Avenue West were also donated to us years ago by Hendersonville Pediatrics,” added Long. “This feels like a full-circle experience of the generosity of our community. We are deeply grateful!”

Special recognition was also given to United Way’s 2021 Gold Campaign Sponsors, Wilsonart and AdventHealth.