Sioux Empire United Way's Board of Directors will begin their 2021 year at the end of this month. Our new Board Chair, Chris Kray will also be celebrating his retirement from his position as Store Manager of Scheels at the same time. Here are some thoughts from Chris about his goals for the year, his perspective on giving back, and his tips on what to do with our warmer weather.
How did you get involved with United Way?
When I started with Scheels in 1994, it was brought to my attention that Scheels supported United Way and it was a good way for an associate to also contribute to our community. I started my annual giving to United Way and shortly after that became involved at the store level with Campaigns.
As we look at the coming year, what do you hope our organization achieves in 2021?
To be able to reach the Campaign goal that will be set by SEUW so that we can continue to help with the needs of our coverage area. Continue to find the great volunteers that help the SEUW staff be a positive influence in working to make our communities become better.
What's a unique service or role that United Way plays in the community that you've learned to appreciate as a community member?
I appreciate that we have community volunteers, along with SEUW staff, that make the time to review applications from Agencies requesting funding to help ensure that the money given to the SEUW is used in the most efficient manner. There is good involvement in this process from different individuals that lends to a good system of determining funding needs.
Sioux Empire United Way's annual employee campaign always falls in your industry's busiest season. How have you balanced the preparation for the busy holiday retail time with an always energetic United Way campaign?
I have always felt that our Company and our Store's Leadership Team have made a point to talk throughout the year about the importance of giving back to our communities. Whether that be through volunteer time or monetary gifts. So when it comes to campaign time, we don't have to do a lot of explaining on why it's important to support SEUW. We have a good culture of giving that I am proud to be a part of.
What is something you've learned to appreciate or discovered in the last year?
That time goes by very fast and that a person needs to make sure that you are taking things in along the way. We are all busy but don't forget to see all the things going on around you that are easy to miss as we may be to focused on something.
As a parent to three adults or young adults, how have you taught them the meaning of community and giving back?
When my kids were younger, I would bring the with me when I used to deliver donation checks from SCHEELS in December. I hoped that they would see the impact that an unexpected gift could make on a person or organization's day.
As we enter spring and summer, what activities are you most looking forward to?
Being able to be outside after work and enjoying the evening. Sitting on the deck or patio, walking or riding a bike, and just enjoying the outdoors.
Can you share some of your local faves?
- Place to grab lunch? Backyard BBQ
- Outdoor activity? Golfing, fishing and hunting.
- Entertainment? Watching my kids' sports activities.
- Way to spend a Saturday afternoon? Relaxing and making something on the grill.
Any additional info you’d like to share with United Way supporters?
The pride that I have for our community in it's ability to get behind things and get them done. We have many individuals that are committed to make things happen in our community and for that, we have a very good place to be living.