WHEELING - When Jamie Bordas looks across the landscape, he sees something lacking in the world today love. People, he said, don’t ask themselves enough every day how they can love more and how they can better show love.
Yet a place where love is always in abundant supply, he continued, was the United Way.
“When you look at organizations like the United Way, almost everything that the United Way does is pouring love upon others,” he said, “showing compassion and empathy.”
The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley showed its love to Bordas, the managing partner of the Bordas & Bordas law firm, by giving him the 2023 Building a Better Community Award on Monday morning at the Wheeling Island Hotel-Racetrack-Casino.
The organization honored several people during the breakfast. Along with Outstanding Volunteer Award winners Bella Rine, Miley Rine and Chris Thomas, Sharon Kesselring, executive director of the American Red Cross of the Ohio River Valley, was given the inaugural G. Ogden Nutting Community Service Award, named after the late publisher of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register.
photo by: Derek Redd
In presenting the Building a Better Community Award to Bordas, United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley Executive Director Staci Stephen said the amount of service Bordas has provided to the people and organizations of the Ohio Valley was immeasurable.
“When I think about the Building a Better Community Award, I think about all the agencies he has supported, the volunteer hours he has provided and the effect he has on the Ohio Valley in general, and the word that keeps popping up in my mind is philanthropy,” she said. “Philanthropy means the love of humankind and involved the giving of one’s money, time or skills to solve social problems.”
On top of being the president of the Wheeling YMCA Board of Directors, a longtime youth sports coach and a partner with several philanthropic groups in the Ohio Valley, Bordas has supplied the matching donations for the United Way’s Match Madness campaign and was a major contributor for the organization’s Celebrity Scoopers fundraiser.
In accepting the award, Bordas took time to mention the many other groups and individuals around the valley whose service to community made them just as deserving of the award.
“Those are people, to me, that are on the front lines of making our community better on a daily basis,” he said. “And that’s why this valley is a very good place to live and raise our families, because of people like that.
photo by: Derek Redd
“And whatever small part I have done to try and help this community really pales in comparison to what those folks and people like them do on a daily basis,” he added.
The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley’s newest award, the G. Ogden Nutting Community Service Award is named after a person who spent decades in service to the Wheeling and Ohio Valley communities and was the 2018 recipient of the Building a Better Community Award. Stephen said Nutting, who died in August at age 87, was always a vocal supporter of the United Way and its mission.
“Mr. Nutting once said that he felt if a community had a strong United Way, it would succeed, because the United Way is the backbone of the community,” Stephen said. “Not only was he generous in his giving, but he was also generous with his words.
“Anytime someone from the United Way was out in the community speaking or giving presentations, Ogden was always in the audience and always taking time at the end of the presentation to speak up and say what a valuable asset the United Way is to our community.”
For at least the next five years, the recipient of the award also will receive $5,000 toward their agency from the Nutting family in Nutting’s honor. This year’s honoree was Kesselring, who heads the American Red Cross for a 19-county region and, Stephen said, is someone who can always be counted on wherever the need may be.
Kesselring said it was difficult to put into words how it felt to win the award, but she knows what her organization does every day, even if many in the community don’t know what services they provide until they need them.
“It’s such a special thing to be recognized for something I do on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s just an amazing thing now to receive this and know what I do, what my team does and what our volunteers do.”
In naming the Outstanding Volunteer Award winners, Stephen said Bella and Miley Rine are two students who have always gone above and beyond in their help. Their mother, Jessica Rine, is a former United Way executive director and the girls were always willing to lend a hand. When their mother took a job with WVU Medicine, their love for the United Way never wavered, pitching in with the Chili Cook-off and the Lace Up For Kids event.
Thomas, a Marshall County Realtor, is someone always at the ready to volunteer his time and bring others to help as well, Stephen said. She recalled how he was a “lifesaver” at the organization’s Red, White and Brew event, showing up with even more volunteers, working a hectic tent and staying long after the event was over to clean up and load items into the truck.