Bill Beard honored with United Way's service award

First Data receives Caring Award for Service Excellence

June 25, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Bill Beard, left, gets a pat on the shoulder from Bob Barnhart after Beard was named the 2012 Jesse Kagle Award recipient Monday at the United Way of Washington County's annual dinner.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Bill Beard received the Jesse L. Kagle Jr. Service Award Monday night for his service to Washington County during an annual dinner and report to the community from the United Way of Washington County.

The award is given to remember the community spirit shown by the late Jesse L. Kagle Jr., who was the United Way’s executive director for 24 years.

Beard, who was honored during a banquet at Fountain Head Country Club, has made the county more accessible to people with disabilities and is the “go-to ramp guy,” according to biographical information provided to The Herald-Mail. Beard founded the Corporation for Assistive Technology, where he designs and builds ramps for wheelchair-bound residents.

Beard has also worked with Many Individuals Helping Individuals, or MIHI, on various projects, including a playground project at Halfway Park, has been instrumental in creating and serving on the Human Services Transportation Coordination Subcommittee of the Washington County Developmental Disabilities Advisory Committee and has helped train people working to start small businesses through SCORE.

Beard was also a 2007 recipient of the Community Foundation’s People’s Choice Award, has worked on the Strategic Community Impact Planning process, known as SCIP, has served on the United Way of Washington County’s board of directors and has been president of the Washington County Commission on Aging.

Beard made brief remarks after walking to the podium to receive the award.

“It’s really fun volunteering. It’s the way you stay healthy,” Beard told the estimated 115 people in attendance.

First Data won the Robert T. Barnhart Day of Caring Award for Service Excellence for its work on Day of Caring, where volunteers fan out throughout the county every year to work on projects.

During the banquet, United Way officials outlined how they are spending their money from the organization’s annual fundraising campaign. Last year’s campaign raised $1.62 million. Besides funding programs related to health services and other organizations like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and a local cold-weather shelter, the United Way this year is focusing on enhanced learning opportunities for local children during the summer.

Officials at the dinner talked about “learning loss” that kids can experience during the summer when they are away from school, and the United Way program focused on the importance of reading.

The keynote speaker was Timothy Rasinski, a professor of literacy education at Kent State University. Rasinski has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books and curriculum programs on reading education.

He is also co-author of the award-winning fluency program called Fluency First, published by the Wright Group.

Rasinski talked about troubling statistics related to childhood literacy, including that one-third of the country’s fourth-graders are reading below level.

Rasinski talked about other ways to inspire children’s interest in reading, such as returning to the practice of singing in class.

“It just makes sense. In order to look forward, we have to sometimes look backward,” said Rasinski, who led the group in song at one point.

Peter E. Perini Sr., co-chairman of the 2012 United Way campaign, talked about how United Way officials have been in touch with Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox about how to work together on childhood literacy efforts.

The crowd also heard from Christina Thompson, who talked about her life-changing experience at Girls Inc., where she was exposed to a library of books.

“We want to take it to the next level,” Perini said.

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