Temporary Emergency Services (TES) was named the 2016 Homer Butler Jr. Agency of the Year during the United Way of West Alabama’s (UWWA) campaign kickoff luncheon at the Bryant Conference Center. Karen Thompson, Executive Director of TES, accepted the award on behalf of her staff, volunteers and board members.
The award is given annually to the UWWA partner agency that sets a standard of excellence by serving its mission in an outstanding manner. A volunteer allocation team of 100 community representatives review each agency’s funding proposal and program outcome measure and assess how effectively the agency is using UWWA donations. In addition to reviewing these proposals to decide how funds will be allocated, these volunteers meet with the agency staff and tour the facilities to get a better understanding of how funds are being put to use. This team makes recommendations to the United Way staff and board on which agencies should be considered for the award.
TES was selected for this honor for the role it has played in helping the Tuscaloosa community since the devastating 2011 tornado. On April 27th, 2011, the tornado destroyed the city’s largest disaster recovery organizations: Tuscaloosa County EMA, The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. TES stepped up in a major fashion and became the hub for recovery assistance with a 24-7 warehouse offering individuals and families the resources and guidance to rebuild their lives in the aftermath. They continue to provide these crisis situation services to this day.
“It is an honor to present this award to the wonderful team at TES,” says Jackie Wuska, President & CEO of UWWA. “The work they do day in and day out takes of lot of compassion, a lot of giving and a lot of caring. It takes a strong leader, dedicated staff and supportive board with plenty of help from volunteers to serve each and every client with the dignity and efficiency of TES.”
When the coal miners in our community were met with mass layoffs last year, TES stepped up to help United Way help the miners. The agency agreed to be the administrator of UWWA’s Temporary Employee Assistance Program that provides one-time assistance to individuals who are laid-off. This time-consuming undertaking helped more than 150 out-of-work miners.
Adopting the philosophy “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” TES has moved beyond the typical food pantry and has ventured into community garden planning. Neighborhood gardens have been installed to promote community, sustainability and on a basic level, to provide healthy food. Plans for fall/winter planning are currently underway in two locations.
About Temporary Emergency Services
TES was founded by local churches 71 years ago to fill a gap in social services, to be a place families could turn to for assistance in times of crisis. They became a UWWA agency in 1968. UWWA funds provided to TES support individuals and families with transportation services, utility and rent assistance, food, clothing, household items and toiletries.
About the Homer Butler Jr. Agency of the Year Award
Homer Butler, Jr. served as the UWWA CEO for 20 years. He built the foundation for where the organization is today. In 2012, in honor of Homer’s service and commitment to UWWA’s partner agencies, UWWA appropriately created, what has become a coveted award in the West Alabama nonprofit community, the Homer Butler Jr. Agency of the Year Award. Past recipients include Good Samaritan Clinic (2012), West Alabama AIDS Outreach (2013), Hospice of West Alabama (2014) and Family Counseling Service (2015).