United Way celebrates a successful year

Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board Chairman Randy Douglas.

Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board Chairman Randy Douglas. Photo by Daniel E. Alexander.

— United Way of the Adirondacks officials awarded Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas the Dorothy and Alan Booth Distinguished Citizen Award at their annual dinner Saturday, March 3 at the American Legion Post in Plattsburgh.

Douglas was praised for his community services, especially throughout the Essex County area ravaged by Tropical Storm Irene in late August. In accepting the award, Douglas paid tribute to his father and noted that public service was the “family“ business and he hoped his father, who has passed away, was proud of his service to those in need.

The Booth Award was initiated in 1985 by the United Way and named after Dorothy and Alan Booth for their ongoing voluntary and philanthropic support of community programs. Douglas became the 28th recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award.

In a surprise announcement, retiring New York State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, when offering a few remarks at the close of the evening, pulled a check out of her pocket and spoke of the valuable work accomplished in the community by the United Way through its partner agencies. She said that since her election campaigns funds were raised in the district, she only felt it was right, since she would no longer be running for office, to return the money where it could do the most good. She presented next year’s campaign chair, Gayle Alexander, with a check for $5,000, unofficially kicking off the 2013 campaign. Alexander and Bernardi thanked her and assured her the funds would be put to good use.

The evening began with opening remarks from Executive Director John Bernardi and United Way Board President Kirk Stallsmith, who introduced and thanked the United Way Board Directors, partner agencies and staff for the hard work and tireless dedication to the mission of the organization. They also praised the State Employees Federated Appeal and the Combined Federal Campaign who through their employees also support the United Way effort contributing nearly $50,000 to the 2012 United Way Campaign.

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