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Local couple receives leadership award

Pictured are (from left) Gary Shirk, director of operations for Bovie Screen Process Printing Company and Granite United Way board member; Lauren and Craig Savage of Concord; and Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way.

Pictured are (from left) Gary Shirk, director of operations for Bovie Screen Process Printing Company and Granite United Way board member; Lauren and Craig Savage of Concord; and Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way.

Craig and Lauren Savage of Concord were honored for their dedication to Merrimack County during Granite United Way’s annual leadership reception on Oct. 1. They were presented with the Rumford Leadership Award. Craig Savage told us more:

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH GRANITE UNITED WAY?

My serious involvement with the United Way began when, in 1983, I started working for a Manchester insurance agency that had an active United Way campaign. My wife, Lauren, and I began to make contributions then; and I also volunteered on the allocations committee for the Manchester United Way. During this time, we became much more aware of the needs of the community, because Lauren was working in the social services world, and I was seeing agencies and their work first-hand through the allocations interview process.

In 1988, I joined The Rowley Agency in Concord, and several years later became the campaign coordinator for the agency. About the same time, Lauren joined Early Head Start, which is a recipient agency of The United Way. She was really seeing the needs of the community first-hand. This gave me insight into the community need that I otherwise would not have had. This more acute awareness of the need helped motivate us to increase our financial involvement to a leadership level around 1997. We have made that commitment ever since.

In addition, I began to volunteer on the Business Division committee, and eventually chaired that committee. I am currently on the Leadership Giving Committee for the Merrimack County division of Granite United Way.

WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN YOU WON THE AWARD?

We were very surprised and honored.

HOW CAN OTHERS GET INVOLVED WITH GRANITE UNITED WAY?

There are a number of ways to give. There is the obvious financial gifting through employer campaigns or direct giving. In addition, the local United Way offices are always looking for volunteers to work with the many committees that make the United Way the financially efficient organization that provides such valuable support to all the member agencies.

ARE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY OTHER COMMUNITY SERVICES?

Lauren and I have given to any number of other community based organizations, such as the Capitol Center for the Arts, Canterbury Shaker Village and Concord Hospital.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY AND HOW DOES GIVING MAKE YOU FEEL?

Giving is such an individual thing. In the United Way, we talk about the “culture of giving.” Sometimes it comes from family traditions, and other times, learning about the needs of the community through personal experience, like the way Lauren and I developed our need to give. You certainly do not give because you think you will receive a reward. We have pride in our community, which is Concord, so we feel strongly that we should support every aspect of the community. I think personal pride in giving is a component as well. Those who are fortunate to have, really have an obligation to share. It is the “culture of giving,” and people who give understand it. The trick is getting those who do not give to understand that culture, and to be motivated to share as well.

NOELLE STOKES

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