A crowd estimated at near 200 turned out last Thursday night to recognize Paula Obermark, retiring executive director of the Franklin County Area United Way. She has been with the organization 33 years.

As Becky Buhr, president and past campaign chair, said, it is rare today when a person works at the same job for that many years and especially to be with a nonprofit group for that long.

Paula was committed to the United Way and she steered a steady course, with firm hands on the controls. She had strong volunteer leadership to work with and the combination of her commitment and solid leadership spelled success in one drive after another. The United Way in the Franklin County area grew under her leadership.

In her last year as the director, a goal was set at $1 million to give Paula a solid going away tribute. That goal was reached. To someone who remembers the days when the goal in Washington was $15,000 or $20,000, that $1 million is impressive.

It is fitting that Paula is leaving as a “winner” and the turnout at her retirement party indicates the respect and admiration people have about her tenure in a position that sometimes can be underappreciated. She will be missed!