The Art of SHARING Featured

9:33am EDT July 22, 2002

Medical Mutual of Ohio and SBN magazine created the Pillar Award for Community Service in 1998 to recognize the outstanding volunteerism and good deeds so many companies in Northeast Ohio are providing to their communities.

All Pillar Award winners have had one thing in common -- unselfish employees who give generously of their time and money to help those less fortunate.

I am proud to say this same spirit is alive at Medical Mutual of Ohio. In fact, it was the commitment of my employees that helped lead to the idea of the Pillar Award.

At Medical Mutual, we call our employee volunteers the S.H.A.R.E. committee. It is quite possible that too many acronyms are thrown about today, but the S.H.A.R.E. name really fits. It stands for "Serve, Help, Aid, Reach and Educate," and I can testify that they do all those things and more.

We turn to the S.H.A.R.E. committee to help guide our community involvement and charitable activities. After all, who is in better touch with the needs of the community?

I would like to "share" with you just a few of the activities the members of the S.H.A.R.E. group have been involved with in the past year. If your company isn't doing enough charitable work, maybe you will be inspired to get more active.

First, they Serve in a very meaningful way. Last year, more than 90 employees volunteered for the Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels program. We are proud to once again be the sponsor for this year's program.

Second, they Help. One blood drive alone for the American Red Cross produced 76 pints of blood.

Third, they Aid numerous organizations. One of my favorite activities is the Holiday in July campaign for Applewood Center. This summer, 100 employees donated $3,500 in items, then volunteered again for the Paint and Plant Day.

Fourth, they Reach. I can think of nothing more important than feeding hungry people. The S.H.A.R.E. group led the company's 2000 Harvest for Hunger Campaign that generated $2,400 and 2,800 pounds of food.

Finally, they help Educate. Employees from all levels and areas of the company volunteer in local schools as part of the Junior Achievement program.

Most of all, the S.H.A.R.E. group walks. Company-sponsored teams have participated in no fewer than 10 walks this year. More than 500 employees have walked and raised approximately $30,000 for a variety of charitable organizations, including the Multiple Schlerosis Society, the American Heart Association, the United Negro College Fund, the African American Women's Walk and the Race for the Cure. And they bowl, too. More than 300 company bowlers raised $15,000 for the 2000 Junior Achievement Bowl-a-Thon.

Why all the boasting? It's simple. The S.H.A.R.E. committee is a Pillar Award winner this year, and we hope to perpetuate the "SHARE" idea at future Pillar ceremonies by recognizing that special company whose employees are at the heart of its effort. The "Art of Sharing" is what the Pillar Award is all about.

Congratulations to the S.H.A.R.E. committee, and to the other 11 winners being honored this year. Your contributions do make a difference, and you should be proud. Kent W. Clapp is chairman, president & CEO of Medical Mutual of Ohio, the founding sponsor of the Pillar Award for Community Service.