By Kevin Wilhelm
Our organization is only as good as our volunteers are, and fortunately for us, we have the best. Every year, when we elect new members to our Board of Directors, I am inspired by their dedication, enthusiasm, and a shared vision to ensure all who reside in Middlesex County live in a healthy, vibrant, inclusive, and thriving community.
At our annual meeting yesterday morning, we welcomed five new board members: James J. Crawford, Derrick Gibbs, Jr., Eric Kane, Lori Lodge, and Jessica Griffin Scheff.
James J. Crawford is currently a Child Nutrition Specialist at End Hunger CT! He is a retired Classroom teacher and with over 30 years of teaching experience.
He has served as a State Representative for the 35th District, Westbrook Board of Selectman, Economic Development Commission, Town Center Revitalization Committee, Vice President of HOPE Partnership, Westbrook Juvenile Review Board, President of Old Saybrook/ Westbrook Exchange Club, Chair of the Westbrook Foundation, and was a member of the Shoreline Basic Needs Taskforce.
He and his wife, Elaine, live in Westbrook. They have two children, Meredith and Nicholas.
Derrick Gibbs, Jr. is the Executive Director of Change Inc., in Middletown.
Gibbs is involved with Middlesex YMCA, the Stamford Public Education Fund, and Inspirica. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Eastern Connecticut State University. “I enjoy supporting the community and organizations that make positive differences within our community. The United Way gives me the opportunity to support an organization which supports many community organizations,” said Gibbs.
Eric Kane, of Middletown, is a Business Transformation Manager at TD Bank. Kane has been with TD Bank for more than ten years and has held various managerial roles within the bank. Kane will serve as chair of the Young Leaders Society. He has been a Steering Committee member of the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society since 2012, leading efforts of the group, including volunteer projects and events.
In addition to his involvement with the Young Leaders Society, Kane is part of the Special Olympics CT on behalf of TD Bank.
He and his wife, Prielle, have one child, Olivia.
Lori Lodge, of Madison, is the Director of Development at Northern Middlesex YMCA.
Lori will serve as chair of the Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative. She has been involved with the Women’s Initiative since 2014 and has been a dedicated leader in the work towards strengthening the lives of women and children in Middlesex County.
She is currently involved in the Kiwanis Club of Middletown, Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Alliance, Holiday on Main/ Auction Committee, and the Rockland Preserve Oversight Committee.
She and her husband, Nick, live in Madison. They have two children, Heather and Neil.
Jessica Griffin Scheff, of Durham, is an Occupational Therapist. She currently works as a Geriatric Care Manager at Worden Eldercare Consulting. She attended Springfield College. Jessica holds a Bachelor’s Degree in rehabilitation and disability studies and a Master’s Degree in occupational therapy. She is currently involved in the Grants Committee for Women and Girls at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, the planning committee for The Women’s Health Fund at Middlesex Hospital, Committee for Interchurch Fund in the town of Durham, and the trustee of Peach Pit Foundation, where she works in close collaboration with community organizations to support and create new programs (YMCA, MARC, Middlesex Hospital, Kid City, Gilead, etc.).
She and her husband, Andrew Scheff, have two children, Andrew Jr., three and Margaret, one and a half.
Welcome to our new board members. We are so thankful for your service.
In addition to welcoming new board members, we also elected new officers. They are all outstanding leaders who will continue to ensure Middlesex United Way remains true to our mission, vision, and values.
Our newly elected officers are Patricia Charles, Chairman of the Board, Scott Carlson, Vice Chairman, and Allison Dowe, Treasurer.