We are pleased to be the founding sponsor of the Pillar Award for Community Service, which honors companies for their good deeds and contributions to worthy causes in Northeast Ohio. As the oldest and largest health insurance company in Ohio, I believe that Medical Mutual has a responsibility to help improve the communities it serves. We try hard every day to live up to that responsibility, and the accomplishments of the outstanding companies we are recognizing with the first annual Pillar Awards reveal their understanding of "commitment to community."
Judging the entrants was one of the most difficult jobs I have had. I was honestly overwhelmed by the level and spirit of giving, as well as the imaginative programs that were developed. But if there was one factor-a common denominator among the 11 Pillar Award winners-it was that those companies distinguished themselves through leading by example. Each company has truly helped improve the quality of life for Northeast Ohioans, and I congratulate them.
Small Business News should also be recognized for its leadership in developing this award program. Community service, corporate giving and volunteer programs should never be undertaken with recognition as the goal. Sadly, sometimes they are. But that doesn't mean that good deeds should go unnoticed. SBN came to Medical Mutual with the idea that an award of this nature was long overdue. Those who have given so much should be recognized in an appropriate way. We agreed, but what clinched our participation in the program was the intention to inspire others to get involved.
The concept struck a chord with me, because I am inspired every day by the volunteer spirit and efforts of Medical Mutual's 2,500 employees. They devote thousands of hours and raise thousands of dollars in support of worthy organizations and causes in Northeast Ohio and beyond. I am proud of my company's volunteers, who helped the American Heart Walk to be an overwhelming success this year, who took the challenge to be a United Way "Pacesetter" company, and who turned out again this Thanksgiving to deliver food for "Meals on Wheels."
"Improving the communities we serve" are words we at Medical Mutual strive to achieve, and, by example, the first-ever winners of the Pillar Award for Community Service live by. We are proud to be in such great company.
Kent Clapp is chairman, president and CEO of Medical Mutual of Ohio.