Individual and Workplace Award Winners to be Recognized at Virtual Annual Celebration Meetings

(Stark and Carroll Counties, OH) February 26, 2021United Way of Greater Stark County Volunteer Leaders Michael L. Howard, Board of Directors Chair and Retired Stark County Family Court Judge, and Chris Goff, 2020 Campaign Chair and Employers Health CEO and General Counsel, will present the following volunteer and workplace awards at the virtual Annual Celebration meetings on March 18 and 25: DeHoff Emerging Philanthropist, Gold Key Service, Leading the Way, Partners in Excellence, Movers & Shakers.

“We send a resounding thank you to the generous workplace employees and individuals who change the world each day by making a positive difference in the lives of their neighbors,” says Maria Heege, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Stark County. “These awards allow us to recognize passionate leaders for the amazing impact they make in our community. We celebrate them. They showed us that even through the hardships of 2020, our community was able to become stronger than ever.”

On March 18, United Way will elect Board members, recognize the great work of our volunteers through service awards and Board recognition. Pre-register today to learn more: March 18

DeHoff Emerging Philanthropist Award was established in 2010 by Bob and Linda DeHoff to recognize a Stark County resident age 45 and under who impacts Stark County through direct service and volunteer work. Through the generosity of the DeHoff family, the recipient receives $5,000 to be donated to a health and human service 501(c)(3) organization of choice.

DeHoff Emerging Philanthropist Award will be presented to Ryan Miller. Ryan’s volunteer efforts include being a founding member of Downtown Canton Flea, committee member of Stark Soup and Lighthouse Ministries -Over the Edge, and celebrity dancer on Palace Theater Dancing with the Stars. His awards/honors include Downtown Canton – Special Improvement District – Board Member; Lighthouse Ministries – Board Member; 20 Under 40 Award Winner; Canton Repository Reader’s Choice and About Local Faves – Best Deli (multiple years).

“Ryan is the ultimate example of someone who puts his money where his mouth is,” says his nominator, Derek Gordon. “If he is not reinvesting in his businesses, he is donating his profits or donating his time to important causes. He lives, works, and breathes Canton and I cannot think of anyone more dedicated to the community. He lives what he believes. There is not a division where his businesses and new ventures separate from his private life and personal values. We need more Ryan’s in Stark County.”


Gold Key Service Award was established by United Way of Greater Stark County in 1961 to recognize individuals who have continually demonstrated the highest degree of personal dedication and service in a voluntary capacity. Their contribution of time and talent supports United Way’s efforts in the areas of health, education and financial stability. There will be two recipients this year: Scott Hamilton and Dr. Teresa Purses.

Scott Hamilton volunteer efforts include work with the Canton Local School District Canton Local Men’s Club project and along with his wife Edie, countless hours and over $54,000 through their foundation for the benefit of the students and athletes in Canton Local schools. His leadership activities, membership on boards/committees, and service awards & honors include: Canton South Baseball Association, 20+ years (president, 10 years); Canton South Rotary Club, past president and member; Canton South Kiwanis, member; Canton South YMCA Board of Directors, youth basketball director and youth flag football director; YMCA Volunteer of the Year, 1996; Junior Achievement Board of Directors; president, Hamilton Foundation, 13 years.

“Scott works tirelessly to make a positive impact in the lives of students and the community he serves, “says his nominator, Steve Milano. “He is an integral member of our board of education and serves the Canton Local community with honesty, integrity, and compassion for others. He’s lived in Canton Local his entire life and is grateful for teachers, coaches, and community members who shaped his and his family’s lives. His efforts to give back inspires others. Scott is a selfless leader who remains calm under pressure, demonstrating the utmost integrity even when faced with difficult people or situations. He is not afraid to stand up for what is fair and always seeks the best solution for the fair and equitable treatment of all.”

Dr. Teresa Purses has donated her volunteer time to many projects: Faith United Methodist Church’s soup kitchen; contacting school districts, colleges and libraries to see which families needed hotspots to access remote learning and delivered them; Great Start for Great Futures; promoting mentoring programs for our youth; writing grants to support trauma-informed care and preventive social-emotional healing practices; lending her talents and skills to support community organizations; leading conversations to dismantle racism in our community; or advancing college and career readiness to ensure access and equity in the business and educational community. Her leadership activities, membership on boards/committees, and service awards & honors include: Artful Living and Learning; Ashland University Telesis Committee ; Aultman College; Aultman Student Ambassador Advisory Committee; Bridge Point Community Outreach; Canton Local School District Strategic Planning; Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors, Education Committee); Children’s Network of Stark County; David Foundation/Massillon Preschool Design Team; Faith Kitchen Outreach; Faith United Methodist Church – Stephen Ministries; Great Start for Great Futures Coalition; iCARE Team Advisory Board; Malone University President’s Advisory Committee; Ohio Department of Education State Literacy Team; Osnaburg Local School District Strategic Planning; Stark County Educational Service Center; Stark Economic Development Board; State Support Team Region 9; Strengthening Stark Governance Committee; United Way of Greater Stark County Project Blueprint advisor and Education Impact Council member; Walsh University Literacy Advisory Committee.

Teresa’s nominator, Dennis Saunier, says “A lifetime resident of Stark County, Dr. Purses is a woman of action. Her purpose is to extend equity and quality of life for everyone through innovation and solving problems. Dr. Purses is a visionary who leads by example in her personal and professional roles. She is a servant-leader, enriching the lives of individuals, building better organizations and creating a more just and caring world. Through unwavering commitment to equity and opportunity, she empowers others to think beyond themselves so that the rising tide will carry all boats. With a tireless work ethic, Dr. Purses sees the success of individuals and community as interlocking and strives for the betterment of our society through collaboration and compassion.”

On March 25, workplace awards will be presented to local organizations to recognize their support of United Way’s annual fundraising campaign. Leading the Way celebrates our top corporate partners and their generosity. This year, there are seven: Aultman Health Foundation; The Beaver Excavating Company; Diebold Nixdorf; Employers Health; Fresh Mark, Inc.; Timken Company and TimkenSteel Corporation. Partners in Excellence celebrates seventeen workplaces that achieved a remarkable 80% or higher associate participation: Access Health Stark County, Inc.; Alliance for Children & Families; Alliance Ventures; Arts In Stark; Beacon Charitable Pharmacy; Community Legal Aid Services Inc.; Edward C. Levy Company; Employers Health; Fulfab, Inc.; Hall, Kistler and Company; The Karcher Group; Innis Maggiore; Massillon Museum; Stark Education Partnership; Visit Canton; YWCA of Alliance; YWCA Canton. Movers & Shakers honors workplaces with the highest increase in employee giving. These fourteen companies increased their campaigns by a minimum of 10% and at least $1,000: Alliance for Children & Families; Biery Cheese Company; CliftonLarsonAllen LLP; Consumers National Bank; Employers Health; Everhard Products, Inc.; H-P Products, Inc.; Hall, Kistler & Company; Jackson Local Schools; Kempthorn Motors, Inc.; MRO Built, Inc.; PNC Bank; US Bank; Waikem Auto Family. More information available at uwstark.org/workplace-awards Preregister today to learn more: March 25

Thank you to our generous sponsors for the event, who help keep our annual fundraising cost low so more resources can go to individuals and families right here in our community: Presenting Sponsor: KeyBank and Corporate Champions: Aultman Health Foundation and Fresh Mark

Preregister today to learn more at United Way’s virtual Annual Celebration Meetings March 18 & 25: March 18March 25

About United Way of Greater Stark County
United Way of Greater Stark County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We win by living United. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. And by inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crisis. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our communities by leading in the development of solutions to critical social issues in the areas of health, education and financial stability. In order to live better, we must live United. For more information about United Way of Greater Stark County visit uwstark.org. Offices are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. (330) 491-0445.