2023 Highlands County Annual Celebration
United Way of Central Florida honored community members Thursday morning at its Highlands County Annual Celebration, awarding Employee Coordinator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Citizen of the Year and more. The event was held at the Sebring Civic Center.
Christina Criser Jackson, UWCF President and CEO, thanked the attendees for making a difference in their local community and shared the Together, We Can campaign video.
“We all work together to make our world a little bit better, and United Way’s vision of giving everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential can only be realized through the power of YOU – our donors, advocates, and volunteers,” said Jackson.
She also introduced the Difference Maker of the Year, Ashley Tinker and welcomed her to share about her experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters Suncoast.
United Way also presented awards for Employee Coordinator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and Citizen of the Year.
The 2022 Employee Coordinator of the Year was given to Gloria Rybinski. Gloria has been the Employee Coordinator for the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners for years and she was selected for this award for the second time, because she continues to provide constant communication to staff while they were running their campaign, encourage giving through incentives and drawings and helps coordinate and facilitate multiple United Way fundraisers, including the very competitive and very delicious BOCC Chili Cook off!
2022 Employee Coordinator of the Year, Gloria Rybinski
The United Way Volunteer of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has dedicated their time toward helping United Way accomplish its vision and goals. Dusty Johnson has been a member of the Highlands County Advisory Board since 2010. He has served on the United Way Board of Directors since 2013, additionally volunteering on the Campaign Steering Committee, President Search Committee, and the Executive Committee. Furthermore, he has been a member of our Leadership Giving Association since 2012.
2022 Volunteer of the Year, Dusty Johnson
Citizen of the Year is United Way of Central Florida, Highlands County’s highest honor, recognizing a volunteer for their involvement, experience, and leadership.
Don Elwell has been involved with United Way of Central Florida since 2010 and has been a member of the Highlands County Advisory Board since 2020, was on our United Community Needs Assessment Committee for Highlands County, served on the UWCF Impact cabinet and this year, volunteered on a Community Investment Team. He has been a member of our Leadership Giving Association since 2013 and does all of this while serving as a Highlands County Commissioner.
Citizen of the Year, Don Elwell
United Way of Central Florida also gave recognition to the Highlands County partner agencies, the individuals and organizations that fund our food distribution sites, Day of Caring volunteers, Advisory Board members, CIT volunteers, members of the Tocqueville Society, Top 10 supporters in Highlands County and the Workplace Campaign awards.
“United Way of Central Florida is committed to making measurable community impact in education, health, financial stability, and safety-net assistance,” shared Highlands County Coordinator Liz Lind, “The work being done in our community is incredibly valuable and it all starts with you, our donors and especially our volunteers.”