United Way volunteer Mark Ottemiller performs "Stand By Me" during the organization’s 2012 campaign kick-off. He earned this year’s
United Way volunteer Mark Ottemiller performs "Stand By Me" during the organization's 2012 campaign kick-off. He earned this year's Distinguished Service Award. (Submitted)

United Way volunteer Mark Ottemiller uses his business sense to help the nonprofit.

Ottemiller is president of Nutec Design Associates, an architectural, engineering and consulting firm headquartered in Springettsbury Township. He's been volunteering with the United Way since the early 1990s and served as campaign chair in 2012.

Under Ottemiller's leadership, the campaign raised $6.95 million — a $35,000 increase from the previous year.

Last week, he earned the United Way's Distinguished Service Award, and three others also received recognition.

Giving back: Ottemiller has also served other nonprofit organizations, which typically have a hard time raising money themselves, he said. But the United Way "has a machine unlike any other" helping raise money for them, he said.

During his year as campaign chair, Ottemiller set a record for the number of calls made to CEOs in a campaign, according to the United Way. He said the organization is so well-accepted in the business community that CEOs welcome those calls 99 percent of the time.

"You don't do these things to receive awards ... I look at it as, 'If I don't do it, who will?'" he said.

Other volunteers: A librarian for almost 40 years, Paula Gilbert earned the Community Building Award.

She's worked at Martin Library and the York County Library System for more than 25 years and is director of youth services.

"I have always been involved in children's issues, and young children are my speciality," she said.


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Gilbert has been volunteering with the United Way's FOCUS program since it started as Focus On Our Future in the mid-'90s. The early-childhood initiative developed over time in the county to bring affordable, accessible and quality childcare to the community, she said.

"I'm just really pleased (about the award) because this is the thing that really warms my heart," Gilbert said.

The United Way also named Reesy Neff Volunteer of the Year and gave the Labor Participation Award to Clark Ruppert Jr.

Giving thanks: The organization honors top volunteers each year and has been doing so for more than 20 years, said Bob Woods, executive director of the United Way of York County.

This year's volunteers are very active in the community, supportive of the United Way and willing to give back in many ways, he said.

"They are all just very involved individuals," Woods said.

The United Way honors its volunteers year-round in many formats, including a "wall of recognition" in one of its offices, he said.

Woods said some volunteers don't want any recognition, but by being honored in this way, they can serve as models for community members.

"They give of their time, financial resources, expertise," he said. "They are giving a lot back to this community, and we can't thank them enough for doing it."

— Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.