Longtime area philanthropists Frank and Jackie Leonard received the 2013 Jeff Byrd Spirit of Giving Award during the United Way of Bristol’s annual meeting Friday.

The couple were among numerous local individuals and organizations honored during the United Way of Bristol’s annual organizational luncheon, held in the Bristol Train Station.

The Leonards were given the Byrd Award for their longtime charitable and volunteer work for the United Way of Bristol, which provides assistance and resources to 28 nonprofit agencies across the Twin City.

The award is named in honor of the late Jeff Byrd, Bristol Motor Speedway’s former longtime general manager and president. The popular Byrd was a prominent and highly active supporter of the United Way of Bristol’s work.

The Leonards’ daughter, Robin North, accepted the Byrd Award on the couple’s behalf, calling it “an honor that the [Leonard] family accepts humbly.”

“There’s still so much work to be done in our community and the United Way is playing such a huge role in meeting those needs,” North said in a post-luncheon interview.

Friday’s luncheon marked the formal end of the United Way of Bristol’s 2012 campaign, which saw it reach its $1.4 million fundraising goal, and the effective start of its 2013 effort.

United Way of Bristol President David Ring hailed the chapter’s ability to reach its $1.4 million campaign target, the highest fundraising goal in the nonprofit’s history.

“The United Way of Bristol had its share of challenges” in 2012, Ring told the luncheon gathering of nearly 200. “But, as predicted, Bristolians rose up to meet them.”

Bristol Herald Courier Publisher Jim Maxwell, chairman of the 2012 fundraising campaign, echoed Ring in praising the community – and the United Way’s extensive network of agencies and volunteers – for meeting the record-breaking target.

“There will literally be thousands of people helped by the $1.4 million we raised,” Maxwell said. “It’s been an incredible effort for a community of this size.”

Maxwell also was honored by the Bristol chapter Friday for his work during the 2012 campaign.

The 2013 fundraising campaign chairman will be John Vann, a Bristol businessman who said he eagerly embraced his new role.

“I’m inspired to serve as campaign chairman by the example set by all of you in this room,” Vann said.


Printed with permission by:  Roger Brown, Bristol Herald Courier


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