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Mike Dunahoo, buyer of Brilliant Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Abilene, was awarded the United Way’s 2021 Advance Account Accolade at the organization’s anniversary bologna Tuesday.

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Cited was his “heritage of service” in Abilene.

The alignment additionally appear added than $2.1 actor in donations for its “Mind the Gap” 2021 campaign, its aggregation of fundraisers adverse abundant obstacles during a communicable year, said Katie Deal, United Way’s administrator of development.

Mike Dunnahoo is congratulated by an admirers affiliate as he makes his way to the belvedere afterwards actuality appear as Advance of the Year at the United Way’s anniversary bologna Tuesday at the Abilene Convention Center/.

The charity’s absolute acquirement for its campaign, COVID-19 abatement program and United Way Foundation for 2020 was aloof shy of $4.26 million.

Donations alignment from $5 a ages to a distinct analysis for $500,000 fabricated up that total, said Cathy Ashby, United Way’s admiral and arch controlling officer.

Campaign chairpersons were Brad Holland, admiral and CEO of Hendrick Health, Megan Allred, admiral and CEO of First Abilene Federal Credit Union, and David Young, administrator of the Abilene Independent Academy District.

It additionally was appear that the additional Winter Lightfest aloft $144,000.

Dunnahoo, speaking afterwards the event, said he was both “surprised and honored.”

“There are lots of association in this abundant association that do so abundant acceptable work, and I’m aloof ashamed by it,” he said. “In a year that was such a challenge, there are lots of people who stepped up and gave their time or their money. It’s aloof adamantine to acknowledge that I was chosen.”

Beginning in 1989, United Way of Abilene has honored one being or family exemplifying community service, Ashby said. 

Dunnahoo, built-in in Fort Worth, has been in the car industry for 49 years. He started starting at a dealership in the Fort Worth-Dallas area, again went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, afore affective aback to Texas and again to Abilene in 1999.

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His business has been called in the Top 100 best dealerships to assignment for in 2012, 2014 and 2016, advancing in as aerial as No. 15 in the nation, said Jack Rentz, the previous year’s advance recipient, who presented the accolade forth with Ashby. 

Dunnahoo has been a affiliate of assorted boards throughout community, including Abilene’s Planning and Zoning board, Career and Technical Committee for Abilene ISD, Abilene Burghal Bond Committee, Abilene Industrial Foundation and the P-16 Council.

He additionally is accomplished administrator of Abilene Chamber of Commerce and Texas Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and a accomplished controlling lath affiliate of Abilene’s United Way.

Abilene Burghal Councilman Weldon Hurt (right) and added admirers associates acclaim the anamnesis of the backward Mark Rogers during Tuesday’s United Way luncheon. Rogers was admiral of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Abilene and was dead in a March 13 car blast that afflicted his wife and their children.

Ashby said adjectives she has heard to declared Dunnahoo accommodate “very smart, humble, kind, generous, accessible to allocution with, honest, doesn’t charge or appetite the limelight, and a man of abundant integrity.”

Dunnahoo said United Way was important to him because it paints with “such a ample brush.”

“You’ve got a lot of acceptable charities out there that are laser-focused on a assertive challenge, breadth the ample besom of the United Way covers so abundant added area,” he said. “When you accord to them, you’re giving to many, abounding agencies. And the lath does a abundant job in allotment the agencies that are best admirable and put the dollars to the best work.”

A 2019 tornado, in which the United Way case-managed aliment for added than 160 homes, helped by Beltway Park’s Boots on the Ground, seems “like a actor years ago and a dozen or so crises ago,” Ashby said.

The aeon of 2020-21 saw an “explosion of charge in programs that accommodate the basics” at a time aback fundraisers had to be canceled, she said.

The entity’s 2-1-1 agents handled 53,408 calls in 2020, alike with alone four agents members, Ashby said.

The charity’s COVID-19 relief effort, Abilene United, allowed it to anon accelerate $50,000 to Food Bank of West Central Texas. It also helped armamentarium day camps for accouchement of capital workers. 

Holding a wireless hotspot, Paul Wallace, the controlling administrator of Communities in Schools, speaks during the United Way’s anniversary luncheon. The devices, which his alignment alone by abacus googly-eyes and allotment them Spot, affiliated agents to acceptance who didn’t accept Internet admission during the pandemic.

Donations additionally helped get $130,000 in rental abetment to Christian Account Center and Burghal Lights Ministry at First Baptist Church.

“Because of you, United Way accepted over $500,000 in COVID relief, aloft our accustomed allocations,” Ashby said.

Representatives from Regional Victims Crisis Center, Communities in Schools and the account center spoke about how abatement armamentarium anon helped audience — an 8-year-old babe adversity from abuse helped through telemedicine-based counseling tools, children who accustomed Wi-Fi hotspots to advice with alien acquirements and hundreds helped with hire assistance.

“Through United Way and all these sacrificial donors out here, we’re allowance them get aback on their anxiety with that assistance,” said Christian Account Center administrator Jim Clark.

Among the abounding things that fabricated extensive the organization’s attack ambition possible, Deal said, was the charity’s anniversary Winter Lightfest, which confused to a new location.

More: Lightening, brightening the amount of 2020: Abilene’s Winter Lightfest overcomes setback

Mark Young, of Boys & Girls Club of Abilene, a United Way accomplice agency, recited a “Night Afore Christmas”-esque composition anecdotic the difficulties and triumphs of the fundraiser, which larboard the United Way wondering, “Should we alike commit?”

Tuesday’s accident additionally included a continuing acclaim canonizing for Mark Rogers, administrator of Big Brothers Big Sisters, who died in a car blast in March.

“There’s a huge aperture in our hearts and in our community,” Ashby said. “We absence him so. He was one of the best bodies that I was advantaged to know.”

Brian Bethel covers burghal and canton government and accepted account for the Abilene Reporter-News.  If you acknowledge locally apprenticed news, you can abutment bounded journalists with a digital cable to ReporterNews.com. 

Hendrick’s Brad Holland and added attack leaders presented a cardinal of awards.

He said anniversary ceremoniousness the “outstanding leadership, action and accord of anniversary individual, workplace, academy and alignment that are committed to our mission of angry for the education, bloom and bread-and-butter adherence of the Big Country.”

Recipients were:

► Samantha Baker, agent attack coordinator award.

► Batts Communication, baby employer attack of the year.

► Dillard’s, mid-size employer attack of the year.

► Hendrick Health, ample employer attack of the year. 

► Abilene Federal Credit Union, ‘Rising Star’ award.

► First Financial, agent giving award. 

► Pamela Williams, for the burghal of Abilene’s campaign, and Jared Armstrong, of Hendrick Health, loaned admiral of the year.

► Day Nursery of Abilene, association accomplice award.

►One AISD, academy attack of the year.

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