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United Way boosted by JBS contribution

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE United Way of Nobles County Vice President Mike Cumiskey (back, from right) and Past President Joni Harms accept the United Way contribution from JBS workers (front, from left) Karina Ramirez, Patty Marin, (middle, from left) Michelle Melendez-Powell, Carlos Figueroa, Maria Ortiz, Maria Saenz, Sarah Hernandez, Ruth Vanhunnick, Kim Reitmeier, Brenda Quijano, (back, from left) Shelley Klooster, Victor Rodriguez, Mario Martinez, David Dorsy and Antonio Jimenez.

WORTHINGTON -- The United Way of Nobles County campaign got a big boost Friday from the annual contribution from workers at JBS in Worthington.

JBS collected $54,483.84, bringing the United Way campaign total to $122,272.14 -- 87 percent of the way to the 2010 goal of $140,000.

"I didn't even think we were going to reach our goal" of $49,500, remarked Michelle Melendez-Powell, a classroom trainer at JBS who coordinated the company's United Way effort, "just because of the economy. But we did. We did better than we thought we were going to."

At JBS, employees from each department volunteer to be solicitors for the campaign and are charged with the task of explaining what United Way is, what it means to the community and how their donation is put to work within the community to their fellow employees. This year, there were 34 solicitors among the company's more than 2,000 employees.

"I just want to congratulate you all on the great job you did," said JBS Plant Manager Bob Krebs. "It takes a lot of courage to go out and ask for money. ... That's quite a feat."

Melendez-Powell has coordinated the United Way campaign at JBS for the last couple of years, but she's been dedicated to the United Way cause at the company for much longer than that.

"When I was on the line, I was one of the solicitors," she said. "I was able to get people to contribute. I guess it comes natural. I think it's a good cause, but you have to have the drive to do it."

This year's top JBS solicitors were Kim Reitmeier and Brenda Quijano, and their efforts were acknowledged Friday at the check presentation ceremony. Reitmeier has been among the top solicitors for several years running.

"It's all the persistence of the solicitors," said Melendez-Powell about why the JBS campaign is successful year after year. "Kim hardly takes no for an answers. She's persistent."

Accepting the check on behalf of the United Way of Nobles County were Mike Cumiskey, United Way vice president, and Joni Harms, past president.

"I want to thank you for being vigilant," Cumiskey said to the JBS employees. "We couldn't reach our goal without JBS employees coming through, and the money goes to so many good causes."

Contributions to the United Way of Nobles County will benefit the following organizations: Worthington Area YMCA and YPals, Southwest Minnesota American Red Cross, Sioux Council Boy Scouts of America, Southwest Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, We Care Day Care, Catholic Charities, Community Connectors, ARC of Southwest Minnesota, Girl Scouts Peacepipe Council, Worthington McGruff program, Volunteers in Mercy, Manna Food Pantry, Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council Community Development, Healthy Communities Healthy Youth Coalition, NAMI of Southwest Minnesota, Carroll Institute Adrian School program, Worthington's Dolly Library, RSVP, Worthington Montessori Preschool, Circle Mentor program, Lutheran Social Services Senior program, DARE program, Worthington Crailsheim International, Junior Achievement, Southwest Crisis Center, Sanford Hospice and Worthington Christian Church Food Shelf.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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