United Way 2021 Victory Celebration

United Way of Portage County celebrated the conclusion of the 2021 Community Campaign with a Candyland inspired theme. United Way of Portage County Executive Director Sue Wilcox announced at the organization’s Victory Celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at SentryWorld that the community had come together in support of our most vulnerable populations to raise a record-setting campaign total of $ 3,252,725 for United Way!      

The campaign surpassed its 2021 goal of $3.075 million, as the community continues to press forward in the face of uncertainties brought about by the ongoing pandemic. “It’s times like these that we can be thankful for loved ones around us that we can turn to. People who will listen and provide solace. People who - just by being there - can change our outlook from dark and gloomy - to happy and content.” said Ariel Welling, one of 10 members of this year’s United Way of Portage County Campaign Leadership Team. “For those who don’t have loved ones to turn to, for people that are homeless, for those confined to their home or who are frail and face challenges that render them unable to take care of themselves, for toddlers and young children in homes where neglect or abuse is present, for our most vulnerable populations here in Portage County, each of us need to stand, ready to lend a hand. It all starts with us.” 

The limited in-person event was held at the SentryWorld Atrium with individualized, three-foot-tall Candyland themed avatar game pieces for each of the nine LIVE UNITED – GIVE UNITED Sweepstakes qualifiers. Each avatar had the qualifiers names printed in peppermint candy font. The nine qualifiers competed in a Candyland inspired game of chance, selecting cards with either a color or a game character. Each game character card that was selected corresponded with a matching character poster located on stage where Tina Peters and Marg Coker-Nelson, United Way Stevens Society Co-chairs revealed one of eight prizes. The last person remaining, selecting a color card, walked away with the ninth and final prize, the Grand Prize.  

Winners included; Joan Kirsch of Wausau, the Grand Prize winner of an SUV or $20,000 sponsored by Stevens Point Auto Center, Duane Firkus of Stevens Point, winner of the Welling Kitchen, Bath and Floor - Home Improvement prize, Barb Hoppa of Custer, winner of the Lee Ayers Jewelers, Thomas Dailing - United Way Pendant prize, Angela Arias of Stevens Point, winner of the Stevens Point Orthopedics and D1 Training Fitness prize, Kristin Hemmrich of Stevens Point, winner of the Simplicity Credit Union/ Riesterer & Schnell - Ariens Snowblower prize, Tracie Roberson of Stevens Point, winner of the Skyward – 65” HDTV & Switch Package prize, JoAnn Scheidt of Plover, winner of the Associated Bank – Green Bay Packers Package prize, Jennie Lake of Stevens Point, winner of the Contemporary Photography – Deluxe Portrait Session prize, and Dan Hyman of Stevens Point, winner of the Northwestern Mutual – Airfare Travel Voucher. Each of the nine prizes valued at $1,000 or more were generously donated by these organizations listed.   

Following the Sweepstakes portion of the event, Kevin Quevillon, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Portage County, a United Way funded program, provided his remarks on the long-standing relationship their organization has with United Way and the importance of providing our areas youth with structured and supportive programming.

The reveal of the 2021 Campaign amount followed the Candyland theme as well. Members of the 2021 Campaign Leadership Team lined up at the podium, each selecting a colored Candyland card from United Way of Portage County Executive Director, Sue Wilcox. With each draw of the cards, another number was added to the original, 1949 Candyland board image made visible on the bank of monitors in the SentryWorld Atrium. After the final number was added to reveal the $3,252,725 campaign total, a choked-up Sue Wilcox commented, “Thank you all for your generosity this year. You’ve made a lot of people’s holidays a little brighter, a little more special. I wish for each of you the happiest of holidays!”