Board of Directors

Sue Smith - Chair

Current or past career?

Attorney who retired from the Department of Energy General Counsel's Office.  I have also have a long career in fundraising for and management of non-profit organizations especially those associated with homelessness including family programs.

 

Why do you serve on the United Way Board?

I serve on the United Way because it is my desire to make a difference in the quality of life for everyone in our community.  With a strong background in volunteer oriented organizations, the United Way Board represents a good fit for those interests as a dynamic and dedicated organization deeply rooted in addressing the challenges of our community.

What are some of your hobbies?

I have a love for gardening and playing tennis. I believe in community solutions and it is my hope that the United Way can work with collaboratively to identify and unite community resources to address our common interests.

Karen Thomas - Vice President

Current or past career?

Current Oil & Gas Accountant - Controller  NuEnergy Operating, Inc..

 

Why do you serve on the United Way Board?

I began serving on the United Way Board  when
 the TACKLE fund joined in with United Way.

 

Together Against Cancer Keeping Local Everyday which is fundraising thru NuEnergy Operating to give back to our community. This effort is to assist Otsego residents with Cancer that need assistance for travel, comfort and special needs. My serving has grown to understand the importance of United Way to help all people in Otsego County to eliminate homelessness, families and children in any needs by reaching out to United Way. 

 

A fund has been set up now thru Otsego Community Foundation to continue to fund TACKLE thru United Way.

What are some of your hobbies?

Love the outdoors, hiking, exploring and enjoy gardening. 
Any time spent with family and extended family is important to me.

Christopher Heath, 2nd Vice President 

Current or past career?

I was born in August of 1967 at a Naval Hospital in Spain. My father was in the Navy at the time. I was born with cataracts and had many surgeries to have them removed. I was raised as a military child moving from base to base every 2-3 years. This gave me a great exposure to the
varied regions, diverse individuals, & different cultures within the United States of America. After attending several schools, I graduated from Indian River High School, Chesapeake, VA in 1985.

 

Upon graduating I went to work and did this for many a year. All the while losing my sight to congenital glaucoma. Even though I knew I had it, I continued to work & drive. Yes, I had a driver’s License for several years. Still miss that freedom, even today.

 

Upon realizing I would not
likely be able to work as I had before I got vocational training as a massage therapist around 2004 and became a licensed massage therapist. First, in Virginia, now in Michigan. Although I am not currently employed, I keep up my skills and CEU requirements to remain licensed.

 

Why do you serve on the United Way Board?

I joined the Otsego county United Way in 2015 after relocating to Bagley Township. I have been involved with non-profits and government agencies for the disabled. It started when I found an advocacy one called the Virginia Association of the Blind. This connected me to the American Council of the Blind & many other non-profit organizations for the disabled.

 

I, also, served on the following boards as well: South Hampton Roads disabilities Board , Hampton Roads Regional Transit Paratransit Advisory Committee & Chesapeake, VA Cable Television Advisory Committee. It is my fervent hope to bring my knowledge & experience to bare on OCUW’s agenda. Hopefully increase awareness & inclusion of the disabled in community services, activities, & social events.

Tracey Cruz - Treasurer

Current or past career?

Financial managed / administrative assistant at Otsego County Judicial System

 

Why do you serve on the United Way Board?

I find it’s a way to give back to our community and I like serving an organization that’s work
makes a difference in the people it touches.

 

What are some of your hobbies?

Sewing, knitting, crafting, spending time with family, travel.

Melissa Reinelt - Secretary

Current or past career?

I have worked at Gaylord Community Schools since 1998 in a variety of positions. I have a MS in Human Resources Administration from Central Michigan University and I am currently the Director of Human Resources for the district.

 

Why do you serve on the United Way Board?

I have always been aware of the tremendous generosity that Otsego County has for its residents and I am proud to serve on the United Way Board and show my support for all that this organization, specifically, does for our community. The commitment that this organization
has shown to help our residents meet their basic needs is impressive and I am honored to be able to be a small part of that.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy spending time with family and traveling. I have always been a loyal Detroit Tigers fan and have a goal to visit every major league baseball stadium. 

My husband Jeff and I have been married for 25 years. We have lived in Gaylord for over 20 years and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to raise our children in this great
community. We are very proud of our daughters, Paige and Katie. Paige is currently completing her physical therapy doctorate program through Central Michigan University and Katie is pursuing her graduate degree in occupational therapy at Davenport University.

Kristina McClerren 

Kelly Korson

Jim Grisso

Sarah Skowronski

Current or past career?

Social Worker with the Otsego County Commission on Aging.

 

Why do you serve on the United Way Board?

I see the direct impact the United Way has on our
local community and the ability the organization has to assist community members who have
stumbled on difficult times and need an extra hand.  I have seen the results of the United Way's
direct work and I am glad to be able to serve on the board of directors.

What are some of your hobbies?

I am an avid reader, I love to spend time outdoors with my
family, being on the lake in the summer, and spending any time I can with family and friends.

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