From individuals to large corporations, Baldwin County residents are LIVING UNITED and making headlines.
Happily retired, Poppy and Buddy Beasley cherish their grandchildren. They treasure their hometown of Bay Minette and support United Way which funds programs assisting local residents. “Throughout my 30 years in teaching, I gave to United Way through payroll deduction,” says Poppy. Today, the couple continues to give. “We think it’s important that we set an example to our children on giving back,” says Buddy. Mary Brook is watching, too.
It’s a ten-hour task for a team of two. For Bernie Minor, mowing 14 acres at Saving Grace Home for Women is a “labor of love.” He and other volunteers are committed to “keeping the grass cut and the snakes away “for those seeking recovery for addiction problems. Bernie admits that in the heat of summer, “There’s not a dry stitch on me. I get water in my boots!” But he enjoys getting his feet wet, knowing he “helps others with what they’re going through.”
Sharon & Brian Dearing
United Way has always been the “charity of choice” for Sharon and Brian Dearing. “We were constantly being approached by groups asking for donations,” said Sharon. Early in their careers – Brian as a cardiologist and Sharon as an artist and community volunteer – the couple decided to focus on one main charity. “United Way does a lot of the homework so we don’t have to,” said Sharon. Before funding is allocated to programs which focus on a strong public education system, financial stability and quality health care, there is an extensive review process. This “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” gives the Dearings confidence that they are helping to build a solid community for their three children and their neighbors’ families as well.
Two years ago while tilling his garden, Dan Chavis felt a calling to reach out to his neighbor. Through “divine inspiration,” Dan walked across the street to ask his friend, Sue Joy, director of Baldwin Youth Services, what he could do to help. Since that day, Dan has been serving as a mentor and father-figure to the youth at the Boys Home in Robertsdale. This United Way agency provides corrections to non-delinquent status offenders under age 18 and safe shelter to abused or neglected children from birth through age 17.
“We talk about subjects such as responsibility,” said Dan who meets with the group every other week. Having been blessed through his family-owned furniture business of 60 years, Dan now enjoys “impacting people’s lives” and knows that his work “is not a short-term thing.” Every session he asks the young boys, “Why am I here?” And they answer, “So we can make good decisions tomorrow.”
Sam & Ann Crosby
Unselfish service and giving are woven throughout the fabric of Ann and Sam Crosby’s character. Into all facets of their daily lives – church, work, and community – Ann and Sam pour their time, resources, and talent. For many years, they have been faithful donors of United Way.
“We have found the words, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’ to be true. Giving has been a consistent source of joy in our lives,” said Sam, a local attorney with Stone, Granade & Crosby, P.C. and past president of the Alabama State Bar. Ann added, “We like theUnited Way because it helps local people.” Their son Sam earned his Eagle rank in Boy Scouts with Troop 47 by building a food pantry at Ecumenical Ministries in Fairhope, which in turn provides services to those in need. And so, in theCrosby family, the circle of giving goes unbroken.
“It makes me feel good that I’m helping someone,” said Karen McDermott. A GED instructor for Faulkner State Community College and a volunteer for South Baldwin Literacy Council, Karen played a major part in implementing the agency’s English as a Second Language classes in Robertsdale and Foley elementary schools. Fluent in Portuguese and able to “muddle through Spanish,” Karen delights watching “the children caught off guard when they realize I can understand every word they’re saying to each other!” But supreme satisfaction occurs when her students are finally able to understand every word she is saying.