Lending a helping hand

Theresa Montgomery

United Way and university show appreciation

Sometimes people need help to help themselves.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost one in ten people in Portage County live below the poverty line.

“For the city of Kent, it’s extraordinarily high,” said Dale Richards, former vice president of Human Resources at Kent State.

The United Way of Portage County and Kent State thanked Richards yesterday for having “helped thousands you will never meet.”

Those words were engraved on the plaque he was given yesterday by David England, dean of the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services. England chairs the United Way campaign at Kent State this year.

“He’s truly passionate about helping others,” England said of Richards.

Richards has worked on the campaign at Kent State for 15 years and directly with the United Way of Portage County for the past five years. He retired on Dec. 1, 2004 but was rehired as a human resources consultant the same day.

“There was no break at all,” said Vanessa Vesely, his administrative assistant.

“There’s not a lot of teachers who do that,” she said.

Chairman of the 2002 United Way campaign at Kent State, Richards originally agreed to be an adviser on this year’s campaign at Kent State, England said. He soon stepped-up his efforts and became a coordinator of the data for the campaign.

Making sure information went out to everyone involved in the campaign is an integral part of the campaign, said Steve Kleiber, president and CEO of United Way of Portage County.

“He’s done a lot of the back-room work at Kent State for the campaign,” Kleiber said. “He really is a real leader in terms of volunteers for Kent State and the community.”

Both England and Kleiber emphasized the personal commitment Richards has consistently shown over many years, and Richards’ generosity in donating his time, finances and expertise to both the Kent State and surrounding communities.

“I have a great admiration for Dale,” England said. “I see him as a very giving, philanthropic and socially aware person.”

And Richards wants to do more.

“I believe that a community, a nation, a world is no better off than the least well-off person,” Richards said. “I believe we all have a responsibility to each person in the community to help them become more self-reliant.”

Contact College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Theresa Montgomery at [email protected].