Chris Miller (left), administrative director of FirstHealth Community Health, and Wes Cowell, administrative director of Pharmacy Services, are shown with the Spirit of North Carolina Award that was presented to FirstHealth of the Carolinas during the annual meeting of the North Carolina United Way on Feb. 21. Miller is treasurer of the 2013-2014 United Way of Moore County Board of Directors, and Cowell served as campaign chair for the 2013 Moore County United Way campaign.
PINEHURST – It takes spirit to mount a successful United Way campaign, and apparently the employees of FirstHealth of the Carolinas have plenty of it.
This year, for the fifth consecutive year, the Pinehurst-based health care organization received a Spirit of North Carolina Award for Campaign Excellence for outstanding community commitment and support of the United Way.
Wes Cowell, who has chaired FirstHealth's United Way and Montgomery County Crisis Fund campaign since 2011, accepted the award Feb. 21 at the “Stand Up, Stand Out, Live United” – Spirit of N.C. Awards Lunch. Held at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst, the awards program was the closing event for the 2014 annual meeting of the North Carolina United Way, which presents Spirit awards in various categories.
FirstHealth was recognized in the category involving health care organizations with 2,500 to 5,000 employees.
The Spirit Awards were developed to recognize companies and their employees that demonstrate campaign excellence and community commitment. The Spirit Committee judged submissions from top companies, organizations, governmental entities, and health care and educational institutions as well as businesses – both large and small.
“Winning the Spirit Award for the fifth consecutive year is a testament to the caring culture that embodies the employees of FirstHealth,” says Cowell, who is administrative director of FirstHealth Pharmacy Services. “It no longer surprises me when our campaign exceeds expectations, and I attribute that to the generous resources and talents that are contributed by our campaign committee and to the support everyone provides from senior administration all the way down to the occasional part-time employee. Our people are truly incredible.”
With a 2013 campaign total of $193,690, FirstHealth surpassed its $175,000 goal and exceeded its previous campaign record, set in 2012, by 13 percent. In addition, the number of “Leadership Givers” – defined as employees who pledge $1,000 per year in Moore County, $300 per year in Richmond County and $200 per year in Montgomery County – more than doubled from 17 in 2012 to 38 in 2013.
Cowell, who also chaired the overall Moore County United Way fundraising effort, cited several reasons for the campaign's success. They include a specially designed database that provided frequently updated information allowing campaign captains to track their department's progress.
The use of a theme based on the popular “Duck Dynasty” reality TV series also generated interest as did a guessing game contest in which six FirstHealth leaders – including CEO David Kilarski – impersonated members of the “Duck Dynasty” cast.