The Butler County United Way honored its many volunteers at an awards breakfast Friday morning, then promptly put them to work.
But the efforts were all a part of the annual "Day of Caring."
"United Way's work can be summarized into four words: Give today, change tomorrow,'" said board chair Karen Mueller. "The change we need to see would not be possible without our amazing volunteers."
With the exception of one award, all honorees received a work of art from the InsideOut Studio, an initiative of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The Agency Leadership Award went to Steve Schnabl, executive director of Partners In Prime, which symbolizes teamwork, collaboration with United Way and social service system advocacy, said Sherrie Bluester, executive director of the YWCA Hamilton and last year's recipient.
The Junior Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Mai Rottinghaus, an education student at the University of Rio Grande.
"Mai is an active leader who represents youth with an active, articulate and insightful voice," said Bruce Jewett, United Way president and CEO, calling Rottinghaus "an unofficial intern" because of her frequent visits to the office last summer.
"She would be ready for whatever we had to throw at her," he said.
The Outstanding Community Partnership Award, which recognizes two agencies that work together "to achieve more than they can do alone," was presented to Living Water Ministries and the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton.
Cathy Hester of Living Water and Karen Miller of the Boys and Girls Club "have proven over the years that working together to achieve more is a necessary strategy in the world of non-profits today," Bluester said.
The LIVE UNITED award, presented to a company that represents the concept of LIVE UNITED throughout the county, was presented to certified public accounting and consulting firm Clark Schaefer Hacket for encouraging its employees to participate in the Day of Caring and the United Way Community Campaign.
The President's Award, given to an active community volunteer who "works hand in hand with the professional staff to advance organizational excellence and provide a direct benefit to the community at large, went to Logan Stone.
The Otis Briggs Outstanding Volunteer Award, first established in 1996 in honor of a long-time United Way executive director, was given to current board chair Mueller, executive vice president of Horan Associates, a life management organization.
"Both professionally and personally, Karen is involved with numerous organizations that foster strategic alliances designed to create mutually beneficial partnerships," said Shelly Wallpe, last year's recipient, in presenting the award. "Karen is a keen listener and creatively crafts responses to the challenges of today and the future."
Mueller joined the board in 2007 and became chair after the unexpected passing of Chris Worrell.
The Yenn Sohmu Eni Nipa Award, a trophy of a West African wood sculpture, is annually presented to a company or government entity whose employees "best exemplify the mission of the Butler County United Way by finding ways to be involved in many aspects of (its) work," said Jewett, who donated the sculpture.
The name of the work means "it takes people to uplift," Jewett said.
"The lifting figures signify the power of unified action," he said, "which of course is the whole idea behind United Way."
This year's recipient was West Chester Hospital.
After the breakfast ceremonies, volunteers spread out around the Hamilton-Fairfield area to participate in 10 different service projects, which included landscaping at the United Way office, organizing medical supplies at St. Raphael's and painting and cleaning at two Partners in Prime locations.