United Way recognizes outstanding work of volunteers

United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades recently hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast as part of Volunteer Appreciation Month. Nearly 250 volunteers, staff, donors, and board members took part in the event held on April 22 at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers. 

United Way President and CEO Jeannine Joy applauded volunteers for all their hard work and efforts over the past year to ensure that each of the 90-plus programs sponsored by the organization served the public well. 

“Volunteers are the heart and soul of everything we do here at United Way,” said Joy. “Whether it’s someone taking their pet out for a pet therapy session with Beesley’s Paw Prints or it’s one of our volunteers preparing a tax return through our VITA program, and everything in between, our volunteers do anything we ask of them and they are absolutely amazing people.” 

United Way volunteer Bob Beville was awarded the inaugural United Way Champion Award, given in memory of longtime United Way volunteer and supporter B. Pat O’Rourke, who passed away in 2023. The award recognizes individuals who embody the spirit of selflessness and compassion, and those who give their time, talents, treasure, and trust to better their community. 

Beville expressed his thoughts on why he volunteers and his appreciation for the award: “Being a part of our United Way affords all of us a unique opportunity to see firsthand the difference so many people make and the passion they have for the agencies and programs that United Way supports. I’m extremely honored as B. Pat O’Rourke was a good friend and set the standard for giving back to the community.” 

Lee County Tax Collector Noelle Branning was keynote speaker at the event. She praised the work of the volunteers, calling out each of the United Way programs and the many volunteers that help to make those programs a success. 

To learn how you can volunteer with United Way, please visit Volunteer.UnitedWayLee.org.

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