At the heart of our responsibility
Wilcox to retire from United Way
By Kris Leonhardt
STEVENS POINT – Sue Wilcox, who has led the United Way of Portage County for the past two decades, will retire at the end of 2022.
Wilcox said that the approaching of her retirement is “bittersweet.”
“I absolutely enjoy, fully love what I do here and the people I get to work with. And I’m going to miss it greatly. It’s been so much a part of my life. And I really do see the best of people. I wish everyone could see what I see on a daily basis,” Wilcox said. “I think we would look at things differently.”
Wilcox said that it was a good time to step down and it seemed like the right time.
“And the beauty of this is that Fred Hebblewhite, who I’ve worked with for 16 years, and all of the wonderful staff members here, that we’ve just got a great crew of people – a great team. And you know, that makes it even better to exit now.”
While she officially started on the United Way staff in 1989 in planning and allocations, Wilcox was a volunteer with the organization before joining their mission.
“(I) loved what the mission and purpose of the organization was all about, and I could never at that point have dreamed of having a job that would be so committed to the community. And so once I was able to have the position, it just felt like such a great place to be. And I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I just was drawn to what this is all about,” she recalled.
While Wilcox has seen technological advances morph over the years, she said that the “compassion, empathy, and caring” has remained constant in the community.
“People in our community, though, are still struggling; families are still struggling,” she added.
Director of Resource Development, Fred Hebblewhite, will serve as the new CEO, which was recently approved by the United Way Board of Directors.
Wilcox is confident that Hebblewhite and the United Way staff will carry on the local organization’s mission and continue to foster fellowship in the Portage County area.
“The one thing that we need as a community and as individuals is to remain empathetic and understanding of others; taking care of our family, friends, and neighbors is the heart of our responsibility and obligation to one another,” she said.