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United Way awards Spirit Award, honors outstanding businesses

The Bartlesville Regional United Way celebrated the conclusion of the Be the Face of Change 2015 campaign at their Annual Meeting on May 1.

CEO and Executive Director Jody Burch spoke about United Way’s partnerships with Bartlesville Education Promise to help at-risk students and with CityRide Circuit to provide a low-cost bus route in Bartlesville.

“This transportation loop serves the needs of many individuals in our community who are getting to work, going to medical appointments, getting to social service agencies or going to the grocery store,” Burch said.

Bettye Williams was also presented with the 2016 Spirit Award.

The United Way Spirit Award recognizes exceptional commitment and leadership in the community. Nominees must demonstrate the spirit of service to the community of Bartlesville by giving, volunteering, or being a champion for an organization. This person can be counted on and will go above and beyond to help make the community a better place for everyone.Bettye Williams is surprised to learn she is getting an award.

“Bettye is everyone’s friend,” Jamie Wood, former Spirit Award recipient and executive director of Mary Martha Outreach, said. “She is humble, giving and the outstanding woman in Bartlesville. She never says “no” to anyone who needs her!”

Bettye Williams’ commitment, dedication and involvement in the community and her service to others have had an enormous impact on the lives she has touched. She has devoted herself to one community organization or cause for over 50 years. Bettye began her career with Phillips Petroleum Company as a Mail Room Clerk and progressed to become the Director of Employee Assistance Programs, a position she held until her retirement in 1995.

“She is a constant champion for the underdog and for those fighting for truth, fairness and common sense,” said Thad Satterfield, who served as United Way executive director while Williams was on the United Way board. “She models her belief in taking time to do things the right way, the first time, and it has guided many of us in our professional journeys.  She is a tireless community champion. . . Bettye truly is one of the great spirits of our community and she continues to make Bartlesville a wonderful community to live, work and play for everyone.”

She has served as Westside Bank Community Advisory Committee President; a member of the United Way Board of Directors; Board President of Junior Achievement of Bartlesville; served on the Women and Children in Crisis Board, Bluestem Girl Scout Council and Leadership Bartlesville. Bettye also served on the Oklahoma Association of Blacks in Energy Board of Directors.

Currently, she is a Charter Member of Daybreak Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow; community Bible study; Junior Miss of Bartlesville and Oklahoma Board of Directors for Distinguished Young Women; and two- time Past President Pilot Club of Dewey. She attends Greater First Baptist Church and is a former Trustee.

She has also been very involved in three United Way partner agencies: serving on the boards for Agape Mission and Salvation Army and volunteering with Westside Community Center, particularly their Work Ethics Prosper program, which prepares youth to hold a job.

“Every community worth its salt has its matriarchal standard-bearers, and for Bartlesville, especially the Westside community, Bettye Williams is one of those leaders,” Westside Community Center Executive Director Morris McCorvey said. “Ms. Williams is a stalwart leader by the example of her involvement. Her well-informed counsel, and volunteer assistance bolster the support-structure of a surprising number of local civic efforts and organizations. Ms. Williams has had a powerful influence on my growth and development, as well as that of the youth we serve.”

Williams has received numerous community awards, including the “This is Your Life” Award from the Westside Community Center in 1982, the Jim Gillie Outstanding Citizen Award from the Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce in 1993 and the Allied Arts and Humanities Local Volunteer of the Year in 2005.

In 2008, Bettye appeared in the documentary “Voices of Bartlesville” and received an Outstanding Community Service Award from the Oklahoma State House of Representatives in May, 2009.

After honoring Williams, the United Way also honored other partners who helped make our campaign a success. The United Way honored outstanding businesses that had gone above and beyond in contributing to the United Way. Businesses that were recognized increased their giving over the previous year, had at least 50 percent employee participation, participated in a campaign event and advertised their participation in the United Way campaign.

Businesses honored were Arvest; Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce; Boys & Girls Club of Nowata; Career Employment Services; ConocoPhillips; EY; Family Healthcare Clinic; Green Country Village; KWON KPGM KYFM KRIG; Phillips 66; Quiktrip; Rogers State University; Stotts, Archambo, Mueggenborg & Barclay; Truity; Westside Community Center; and Zachry.

“Thank you so much to our outstanding businesses for stepping up and helping make this year’s goal a success,” Campaign Manager Kirsten Ergenbright said. “We greatly appreciate each of you for taking the time to help us and for being a valuable part of our campaign.”