2019 Kay Conrad Day of Caring

ASHLAND — Gordon Conrad’s wife, Kay Conrad, passed away in 2010. But she is still remembered today after founding the United Way of Ashland’s Kay Conrad Day of Caring 25 years ago.

Kay Conrad was the executive director of the organization from 1996 to 2004.

On Thursday, roughly 320 volunteers set out to provide service to 98 homes in Ashland County that added up to over 1,200 man hours in just an afternoon’s worth of work.

“I just think it highlights the specialness of our community, people’s work ethic and their ability to care for others and just to make a difference in this one day,” Stacy Schiemann, executive director of United Way said.

The volunteers consisted of companies that rounded up their employees as well as individuals willing to spend an afternoon giving back to the community.

The volunteers are split up into groups by companies — who each have 4-5 assigned houses where they will go and meet the needs of the homeowners, typically elderly.

Companies such as First Energy have sent volunteers to the event for years and this year had 23 employees take the afternoon to volunteer as a team.

“We’ve gotten quite a few more new ones (volunteers) this year, so I think the word is spreading within our company, and we’re getting a few more willing to take the time to come out and help,” Julie Campbell of First Energy said.

Typical duties consist of raking, hedging bushes, cleaning windows and even replacing smoke detectors provided by the American Red Cross.

“What makes it successful is the interaction with the residents because most of the residents don’t stay in their houses when this is done,” Schiemann said. “They are out there talking to their volunteer team and sharing stories and having that social connection and feeling cared for by their community.”

Ashland Mayor Matt Miller gave a proclamation for the day and also mentioned the type of person Kay Conrad was and what she meant to the community.

“Kay was someone whose heart and soul was for the underdog,” Miller said. “Anyone that needed help, whether it was emotional, physical, or help cleaning up their property, Kay cared about them.”

As the volunteers waited anxiously to go out and serve, Gordon Conrad left them with one message.

“It was very important to Kay and I don’t think she ever envisioned something like this being this big. I know it’s pretty chilly out there, but the warmth in your hearts is going to overcome that.”

Ashland Source Facebook Article:  10/18/2019

ACCESS (Ashland Church Community Emergency Shelter Services)


Sunny McCarty, Executive Director                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

 508 Claremont Avenue, Ashland, Ohio 44805
Phone: (419) 903-0099

Website: http://www.ashlandaccess.com

Ashland Church Community Emergency Shelter Services (ACCESS) is a coalition of Christian congregations providing safe, temporary shelter, meals and compassionate assistance to Ashland County women and families needing support to build a more stable future.


Olive Tree Care

  Kristy Spreng, Director         

637 N. Market Street, Loudonville, Ohio  44842

Phone: (419) 994-2080

Christian, Licensed, Tuition Based Program with Qualified Staff & Volunteers.  Busing available through L-P Schools.  Homework help, Exercise & Recreation, Crafts, Music, Movies, Games, Snacks, Special Guests, Therapy Dog and Lego Days.


ASHLAND – United Way of Ashland County is encouraging community members to find their inner hero this year.

“It’s the super hero in you that makes you feel powerful, that makes you feel engaged and strong and that makes you feel like you can go out and make a change,” Stacy Schiemann, executive director of the local United Way chapter, said at a kick-off breakfast at Ashland University Thursday.

The breakfast marked the official start of United Way’s 2019 “The Hero In U” Campaign, but a dozen local businesses and institutions designated as United Way “Pacesetters” have already begun raising money toward the $990,000 campaign goal. Collectively, the Pacesetters have set a goal to raise $308,625, and several of the groups have already surpassed their individual goals.

Schiemann said the superhero theme felt like a good one for this year’s campaign because it empowers people to act.

“Superheroes for us doesn’t mean you need to jump off buildings or have super strength or super speed or teleport. What we’re really asking is, ‘What can you do in your life to create change for others?'”

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United Way of Ashland County’s annual campaign is designed to raise money for 27 specific programs of the organization’s 15 partner agencies throughout Ashland County, freeing up those agencies to spend more time on their missions and less time fundraising.

The partner agencies are ACCESS, American Red Cross, Appleseed Community Mental Health Safe Haven Shelter, Ashland County Cancer Association, Ashland Christian Health Center, Ashland County Council on Aging, Ashland County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Ashland Parenting Plus, Ashland Y, Associated Charities, Catholic Charities, Hospice of North Central Ohio, Kidney Foundation of Ohio, Olive Tree Care Program and Salvation Army.

The local United Way is funding five new programs for the first time this year, including ACCESS’s homeless services, Ashland Christian Health Center’s Patient Medication Assistance Program, Appleseed’s Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids Program, Ashland Parenting Plus’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate Program, Olive Tree’s Aftercare Program and Ashland Y’s Special Olympics.

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This year’s campaign efforts are led by volunteer campaign co-chairs Todd and Krissy Geren.

Pacesetters this year include Abbott Ashland Retirees and Alumni, Ashland City Schools, Ashland University, Ashland County West Holmes Career Center, BCU Electric, Campbell’s Snyder’s lance, Centreea Co-Op, Donley Ford Auto Group, First-Knox National Bank, Loudonville-Perrysville Schools, Lutheran Social Services and University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center. United Way’s partner agencies are also Pacesetters for the campaign.

For more information about United Way of Ashland County or to donate, visit uwashlandoh.org or call 419-281-5551.

Ashland/Richland Source – Courtney McNaull, Staff Reporter

2018 “Kay Conrad Day of Caring”

ASHLAND – Hundreds of community members came together Thursday to help Ashland residents for the 23rd United Way of Ashland County Kay Conrad Day of Caring.“I think it’s important to show that there are people in this community that are here for others, just to show that we support those who need a little more assistance,” Washock said. “There’s a lot of great things going on in Ashland.”

A team from Ashland, Inc., was raking leaves, cleaning windows and moving some outdoor furniture on Smith Road. Colin Myers, who was helping for the second year, said he appreciated that his company gave him and his co-workers the chance to give back to the community through the Day of Caring.

Twenty-seven teams made up of 234 volunteers from a variety of Ashland businesses and organizations fanned out across Ashland County to perform a variety of tasks for 78 elderly and disabled residents who needed help with raking, washing windows, trimming bushes and other assorted chores to prepare for winter.

Before starting their work, the volunteers gathered at Jack’s Place at Trinity Lutheran Church for lunch and to gather their supplies.

The day is named in honor of the late Kay Conrad who passed away in 2010 and founded the day of service in 1994 when she was the head of the Ashland United Way.

“Kay valued volunteering and built that into everything she did with the United Way of Ashland County. She wanted to build a day that was just about volunteering and making our community better,” said Michelle Vanderzyden, president of the United Way board.

Kay’s husband, Gordon, thanked those in attendance Thursday for carrying on the tradition his wife started for the community she came to call home. “Kay was not a native Ashlander but she poured her heart and soul into this community,” Gordon said.  Although dark clouds filled the skies, Gordon told the volunteers to not be worried about the weather. “I think she (Kay) said once, ‘Don’t worry about the weather. When you’re helping people, it never rains,” he told the gathered volunteers.

Besides a number of homes in Ashland, volunteers also pitched in at residences in Savannah, Loudonville, Perysville, Jeromesville, Nova, Sullivan and Greenwich.

On West Walnut Street, a team from the Kiwanis helped clean up three homes. Among those on the Kiwanis team was Jennifer Washock who said this was her first year taking part in the Day of Caring.

“I think it’s important to show that there are people in this community that are here for others, just to show that we support those who need a little more assistance,” Washock said. “There’s a lot of great things going on in Ashland.”

A team from Ashland, Inc., was raking leaves, cleaning windows and moving some outdoor furniture on Smith Road. Colin Myers, who was helping for the second year, said he appreciated that his company gave him and his co-workers the chance to give back to the community through the Day of Caring.

“It’s a chance to do something nice for people who can’t do it all on their own,” Myers said.

Fellow Ashland, Inc., employee Amanda Lipscomb was also thankful for the chance to take part Thursday.

“It’s just good to help the community,” she said.

Ashland firefighters and other volunteers also installed smoke detectors at 50 of the residences that requested them.

Article:  Tim Busbey – Ashland/Richland Source

2018 Campaign Kick off Event


Ashland – For Thursday mornings, United Way of Ashland County “Faces of Change” 2018 Campaign kick-off Breakfast, the theme was “Ashland’s Got Talent”, and it became apparent throughout the program that giving to help others is one of the county’s best talents.

“We are so proud of the work they (Pacesetters) did, “Stacy Schiemann, executive director of United Way of Ashland County, said after the breakfast.

Michelle Vanderzyden, Joe Reep and Dan Lawson served as the “Judges” for the pacesetter talent performances.

The Pacesetter organizations for the 2018 campaign are Ashland University, Ashland City Schools, Ashland County West Holmes Career Center, BCU Electric, Farmers & Savings Bank, Loudonville/Perrsyville Schools, Lutheran Social Services, Snyder’s Lance, University Samaritan Hospital, Whitcomb & Hess and the partner agencies of the United Way.

“While today is about fun and getting the campaign launched, it’s really about how meaningful United Way and its partner agencies are to this town and we want to connect those dots for everyone, “Schiemann said.  “We don’t want anyone to forget that United Way is here to fund the agencies that are doing the hard work every day and by you donating your time and your dollars, You’re really making an impact to make this community thrive.”

Aaron and Aubrey Bates are serving as the co-chairs of the 2018 Campaign.  The couple praised the hard work put in by the Pacesetters and asked the community to join their family in supporting United Way.

“We as a community, it is our hope that we would be known as a place that holds the values of compassion and generiosity very, very high, “Aaron Bates said.  Ashland resident Rebecca Zickefoose shared the story of how Hospice of North Central Ohio helped her 9-year old son after his grandfather passed away a few years ago.  He was having trouble coping with the loss so the family turned to Hospice of North Central Ohio’s bereavement counselors.

“The people, our friends there, they treated him with the same respect and care that you would expect to give anyone who is grieving.  They gave him the support.  they gave him the tools.  With just a few sessions they equipped him with things he could use to get through situations, “Zickefoose said.

“We fostered relationships.  It’s not just about numbers and it’s not just about money or anything like that.  What United Way does that  supports organizations, like Hospice, it affords them the opportunity to just do what they do, which is care for people and make a change in our lives and many, many, others.  So thank you.

Article provided by:  Richland Source – Tim Busbey