United Way chairs
By DON ALLISON
Times Senior Editor
It hasn’t taken long for Susie and Kim Osburn to make themselves at home in Williams County — or to make a difference.
Since moving to Pioneer six years ago, they have stepped forward to be a part of the Williams County community in various roles.
This fall they have volunteered in a very visible way, agreeing to lead the United Way of Williams County 2014 campaign, which kicks off Monday.
“There is a huge need in the community,” Kim said of their decision to chair the fundraising campaign.
Susie and Kim are Michigan natives, and are parents to six children and have six grandchildren as well. They chose to reside in Pioneer because of its location. “She was working in Holiday City, and I was working in Hudson (Michigan), so it was pretty much halfway,” Kim explained.
Kim remains employed at Kecy Metal Technologies in Hudson, and Susie works as a volunteer.
“I volunteer everywhere now,” Susie said, smiling. “I volunteer at the Bryan Chamber, I’m on the board of the Bryan Chamber, and I’m part of the marketing committee for United Way, and I’m on the board for United Way.
“We’re both in Black Sheep Harley Davidson for Christ Motorcycle Mission,” she continued. Too, both Susie and Kim are active in their church, Life Changing Realities in Edgerton.
And of course, both have been involved with the United Way of Williams County.
Although they’ve only been volunteers with United Way for the last year, they said they quickly realized the impact United Way has on the lives of people in the community.
“This is our first year, so we’re humbled,” Susie said of their selection as campaign co-chairmen.
Susie and Kim both volunteered with the United Way’s effort in March to package enough macaroni and cheese meals to feed 50,000 people, a mission supported by the Black Sheep organization.
“When we did that with the Black Sheep,” Susie said, “we really started to get a feel for what United Way means to the community.”
United Way’s impact was revealed to Kim when he volunteered to assist with a cooperative effort by United Way and Williams County Jobs and Family Services to provide back-to-school supplies to families in need.
“What a humbling, awesome experience that was,” Kim explained, noting that cars were backed up in a steady stream for two hours, coming through to receive the supplies.
“You’ve got grown men there, with three or four children, with tears in their eyes, thanking you, saying they didn’t know how they would get by without that,” he said.
“There is a huge need in the community. A lot of people don’t see it. You don’t see it until you get involved,” Kim said.
As United Way co-chairmen Susie and Kim have a tall order — the 2014 campaign goal is $320,000 — but they believe that with the support of the entire county they can reach that goal.
And they stressed that the campaign is reaching out to the entire county, and that the entire county benefits.
“This is not just Bryan’s United Way — it’s the United Way of Williams County, it’s the whole county,” Susie said.
As Pioneer residents, Kim and Susie hope their role as campaign chairs will help carry the message that United Way represents — and supports — residents from throughout the county.
They also want to help Williams County residents be aware of the many local agencies supported by United Way, and the important role of those organizations in the community.
Contributions to United Way support the operations of 30 agencies that help local residents in many ways, such as support to victims of domestic violence, help with emergency food and shelter, sports equipment for children who otherwise would be unable to play, and programs to support literacy.
“Things to improve the community — the community’s quality of life, not just the physical community,” Susie added.
To support United Way, contact the office at PO Box 525, 108 E. Butler St, Bryan, OH 43506, telephone 419-636-8603, or check out the website at www.unitedwaywc.org.