When I Walked the Red Carpet with United Way

To me there’s nothing more glamorous than wearing stunning designer gowns, beautiful hair styles, perfect make-up and just the right accessory to walk the red carpet in Hollywood. Of course, I’ve never actually walked the red carpet in Hollywood, but last week, at Northwest Suburban United Way’s annual Celebration Lunch, I walked a different, but equally impressive red carpet. I wasn’t in a stunning gown, but I felt glamorous nonetheless. With Marcia McMahon, Chief Professional Officer, hosting on-carpet interviews and Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars lined up to be awarded to companies who have gone above and beyond in their community, I was sure I had stepped out of Schaumburg, IL into Hollywood! The annual Northwest Suburban United Way Celebration Lunch has always been a favorite event of mine. Traditionally, events are focused around raising money to help support the community, but this event has always been different. The Celebration Lunch is our opportunity to turn to our partners and say “Thank You.” Thank you for making a difference in your community. Thank you for donating your time and talent to help your neighbors. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to making the Northwest Suburbs and Skokie Valley the best they can be. On Thursday, June 23rd we did just that, with class! The work we do in the community could not be done without the money raised through the dedication of so many individuals and companies. This year, we were pleased to honor our Top 5 Corporate Citizens, the companies that raised the most money for United Way. These companies came up with creative ways to demonstrate to employees how their donations can and will make a difference in the community, and their efforts definitely showed in terms of the dollars raised. A big “Thank You” goes out to, ADP Dealer Services, Lawson Products, Schawk!, Schwarz Supply Source and Wheels, Inc., our Top Corporate Citizens. As the Celebration Lunch is my favorite event, my favorite award is the Heart of the Community Award. These awards honor companies who have gone above and beyond for United Way. They not only raised dollars for United Way, but also volunteered on committees during Days of Caring, collected food, toys or other items for United Way programs, and generally demonstrate a passion for helping their community. All of these award winners received a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star with their company name on it! Another big “Thank You” to all of our Heart of the Community Winners. Along with the over 100 awards presented during lunch, we also presented 3 very talented students with the George Gattas Scholarship. This scholarship has been awarded to deserving high schools seniors for over 12 years and is presented in memory of long-time United Way and community volunteer, George Gattas. This year, Tom Gattas, joined United Way in presenting Jonathan Keable, Bridget Kubis and Madelyn Konlin with scholarships in memory of his father. These students not only deserve congratulations, but also a “Thank You.” It is because of their community volunteer efforts that they have earned this scholarship. As I look back at my journey down the Northwest Suburban United Way red carpet, I can’t help but feel glamorous, not because I walked the red carpet, but because of all the great companies and community volunteers I walked the carpet with. All of our partners are truly stars on the United Way Walk of Fame. Our community would not be the same without them and to that all I can say is “Thank You.” Don’t forget to check our red carpet interviews on United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s Facebook page!

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