BRADENTON -- The United Way of Manatee County had to reel in the man they call "Super Volunteer."
"I was taking days off from work to volunteer," a smiling Joseph Calinski said Tuesday afternoon after he was presented the Brilliance Award at the United Way of Manatee County's 2013-24 Awards Celebration at Pier 22.
Awards to dedicated individuals like Calinski and companies were presented before a lunch crowd of 150.
Calinski, control panels manager for Edwards Detection & Alarm, a division of United Technology Corps., volunteered more than 100 hours in 2013-14. His dedication also earned him the Presidential Service Award from the White House.
"We were able to track Joe because he signed up for his volunteer jobs through Hands On Manatee (handsonmanatee.com), our new online volunteer initiative," said Anne Lee, United Way
of Manatee Campaign Cabinet chairwoman. "Joe had the most hours of anyone."
The HandsOn Manatee site resulted in 59 projects with more than 1,260 volunteers participating, Lee added.
Overall, according to Lee, the 70th year was successful for United Way Manatee. The organization was able to invest more than $2.3 million into the community, Lee said.
Stuff the Bus, a collaborative effort by Publix Supermarkets, the School District of Manatee County, Tropicana, United Way and Meals on Wheels Plus resulted in 120,000 pounds of donated food Nov. 23-24, Lee said.
The second year of the ReadingPals program ended with 220 kindergarten students at Blackburn, Ballard, Rogers Garden and Daughtrey elementary schools having 120 volunteers reading to them one hour per week for 25 weeks, Lee added.
The Bradenton Herald received three awards at the ceremony.
Herald President and Publisher Bob Turner accepted a Chairman's Award for combined employee contributions and employer match; a Platinum Award for highest percentage of employee participation; and the Advocate Spirit Award for the company making the most significant impact on behalf of the United Way through advocacy and serving as an ambassador.
The Advocate Spirit Award for individuals went to Bob Thompson.
The United Ways' Volunteer Spirit Awards, given to individuals and companies who invest time to improve and impact Manatee County, went to Debbie Tapp and Publix Supermarkets.
The Give Spirit Awards for philanthropic effort went to Manatee County government and Mel and Kathy Griffin.
"Our United Way lost a special friend earlier this year when Mel Griffin passed away," said United Way of Manatee President Philip Brown. "We are confident that Mel's legacy will live in the hearts of many."
Anne Lee was presented with the Live United Award as the person who embodies the United Ways Give, Advocate and Volunteer credo, Brown said.
Other Campaign Chair's Awards for giving $15,000 to $49,999 went to Florida Power and Light, Pierce Manufacturing, Manatee Memorial Hospital, Northern Trust, Pittsburgh Pirates, SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo.
The Board Chairman's Award for giving $50,000 to $99,999 went to Beall's, Hobart Ground Systems, Mosaic and the School District of Manatee County.
Manatee County government took the Board of Director's Award for giving between $100,000-$199,000.
The Hero Award went to Tropicana for giving $200,000 to $499,999.
The Pinnacle Award went to Publix for giving $500,000 or more.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.