News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

April 27, 2014

United Way: UWWV director named ‘Difference Maker’

Fears commended for leadership 6 years in

INDIANAPOLIS — Troy Fears, executive director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley, was the first of 15 people recognized with a “Difference Maker” award from Duke Energy Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

“I am very honored to have received the award. I would have liked to have thrown out the first pitch, but it’s probably better than I didn’t,” Fears said with a chuckle. The award was presented during an Indianapolis Indians baseball game.  

 Award recipients are individuals who have “gone above and beyond in the way of community service and civic duty and contribution to their communities,” said Angeline Protogere, Duke Energy spokeswoman.

For the past six years, Fears has been executive director for the United Way of the Wabash Valley. During that time, Fears has positioned the organization as a leading community non-profit. Under his leadership the organization has met its fundraising goal each of the last four years – raising more than $7.5 million.  

“It is a nice award that Duke Energy is promoting. Duke Energy has done so much for the United Way and the Wabash Valley community and it is nice to be honored by them and recognized for the little things we do,” Fears said.

Early childhood education is a major focus for Fears. With a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation, he helped introduce the program “Real Men Read” in Terre Haute.

“Real Men Read has grown tremendously in the four years since we started it in Vigo County. It has now grown into all six counties that we serve and has over 105 men reading once a month for five months,” Fears said.

“It reaches close to 1,300 kindergarten students and those students get a copy of the book that is read. That’s where Duke Energy’s grant came in to assist with that program,” Fears said, “and Duke Energy continues to help with that.”

Fears and the staff at United Way also organize a “Stuff the Bus” campaign each fall where school supplies are donated to students in need. This program has also grown and more than six bus loads full of school supplies were delivered to students this past fall.

Duke Energy Indiana’s operations provide about 7,500 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 800,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it the state’s largest electric supplier.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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