The Heartland United Way is celebrating its 70th year by honoring community members for their support.
The organization had its 70th annual meeting on Thursday at Riverside Golf Club.
Officials announced that total campaign dollars raised for the 2016-17 year were $1.538,199.
The Heartland United Way presented the Be the One Award to Grand Island dentist Steve Anderson for his work on the Mission of Mercy dental clinic, which will be on April 7 and 8 at the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center at Fonner Park.
Heartland United Way President Karen Rathke said the Be the One Award is awarded to "an exemplary person, group or business who shares their time, talents and treasures with the community."
"The Heartland United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability for every person in every community," Rathke said. "This year’s Be the One recipient has fought to provide health opportunities for every person in need to access dental care. ... It is my honor to present (Anderson) with the Be the One Award to thank him for sharing his time, talent and treasure with the community."
Rathke read a quote from a previous Independent story in February from the Mission of Mercy press conference, where Anderson stated that nearly 50 percent of people "live day to day and month to month with dental problems that cause excruciating pain" that becomes worse when people do not have dental insurance or cannot afford to go to a dentist.
Rathke said that, in response to the need for dental care in Grand Island and the surrounding communities, Anderson organized the two-day dental clinic. At February’s press conference, Anderson said $750,000 to $900,000 in dental work will be provided at no cost to patients during the two-day event.
"Approximately 900 volunteers," which include about 85 dentists and staff members, will help anyone who comes to the event on a first-come, first-serve basis, he said.
The dental clinic is expected to serve 1,500 patients.
After receiving a long standing ovation from the crowd, Anderson gave a few words despite saying, "I don’t have much to say."
"From the wisdom of the past and through the changes of today, it can lead to an even better future," he said. "Our future in Grand Island is bright due to all the caring people, such as all of you here today. Philanthropy shows up in this community better than any community I’ve ever heard of."
Anderson thanked those in attendance and others in the community for their efforts in raising funds for the Heartland United Way. He said he wished to applaud them for their efforts and generosity.
The Heartland United Way also awarded its Live United Award to Global Industries/MFS/York/Stormor for being an "extraordinary business who has gone above and beyond for the (Heartland) United Way and our community partners."
Rathke said Global Industries is "a trusted business partner" who has sponsored numerous Heartland United Way events. She added its employees have served in leadership roles with the Heartland United Way and "generously donated nearly $750,000 to support our efforts."
Global Industries President Doug Fargo accepted the Live United Award on behalf of the company. He said he wished to give a "big thank-you" to the Heartland United Way and its community partners on behalf of its employees.
"When we talk about our company culture, one of the thing’s we’re really proud of is the community involvement and how we participate in the community. ... Our employees have been consistently generous throughout the years, and I’m very proud of that," Fargo said.
Also at its annual meeting, the Heartland United Way announced it has five new community partners:
— Boys Town.
— Legal Aid of Nebraska.
— Literacy Council of Grand Island.
— Nebraska Children’s Home Society.
— TeamMates of Grand Island.
The Heartland United way has 21 total community partners.