By Carrie Haderlie
CASPER — Sheridan VA Medical Center was presented four statewide awards Friday for the greatest employee contributions to local charities during a federally-sponsored fundraising challenge conducted last fall. “The employees’ energy and enthusiasm really underscored the whole process,” said Debra Hirschman, director at the Sheridan VAMC. In total, Sheridan VAMC employees raised $23,000 for local charities, and 70 employees contributed during the Combined Federal Campaign. The Combined Federal Campaign is similar to a United Way campaign, but because federal employees cannot donate or participate in private giving while at work, they are offered the chance to give each year through the federally screened and sponsored Combined Federal Campaign, Jackie Van Mark, public affairs/volunteer service specialist for the Sheridan VAMC said. “This is an opportunity for us to give back. We are very blessed to have the jobs that we have — we are a major employer in Sheridan and in Wyoming,” Hirschman said. “(Fundraising for local charities) is just an opportunity to give back.” The Sheridan VAMC employs 677 people. The money raised represented more than a 50 percent increase in employee contribution compared to last year, when only 34 employees contributed just over $10,000.
The Sheridan campaign began Sept. 27 and closed in December. The Sheridan VAMC raised the
most money for charitable organizations among all federal agencies across the state. The award ceremony was on Friday in Casper. The money raised in Sheridan will go to organizations like the Volunteers of America Northern Rockies, the Food Bank of the Rockies, Make-a-Wish Foundation of Wyoming, the St. Francis Animal Shelter and many others. “I was just amazed at the diversi- ty of charities people could give to,” Campaign Hero award winner and campaign volunteer Kathi Swank said. The Sheridan VA received the Best Overall Campaign for Wyoming; Most Valuable Volunteers for Scott Gillenwater and Julie Newman; Campaign Hero awards for Swank, Nancy Randazzo, Bob Mahoney and Nicole Schulte-Jones; and the Platinum Award given to the campaign with the highest increase in giving. Randazzo said the group is already gearing up for the next campaign, and hopes to raise even morein the fall.