Baxter presents $65,000 check to United Way

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Company in Medina sets new standard for giving to agency

Photos by Tom Rivers – Nelson Patterson, vice president at Baxer International, addresses employees today during a town hall style meeting when employees were recognized for giving to United Way.

MEDINA – Baxter International employees were challenged in September to break last year’s $60,000 in contributions to the Orleans County United Way.

Employees rose to the occasion. Altogether Baxter raised $65,000 for the United Way. A ceremonial check was handed to United Way Executive Director Marsha Rivers this morning, when employees gathered to celebrate a successful fund-raising drive.

“I do want to say thank you on behalf of the people we’re helping,” Rivers said in addressing the Baxter workforce at a town hall style meeting. “Your generosity is tremendous and it will make a huge difference in the lives of a lot of people.”

Marsha Rivers, Orleans County United Way executive director, holds the $65,000 ceremonial check with Dick Barry, a former United Way board member.

Nelson Patterson, company vice president, serves on the United Way board. He has been a big cheerleader for the agency inside the building, paying for gift cards out of his own money as incentives for people to donate for the first time or to raise their contributions. Baxter Credit Union also provided gift cards as incentives.

About 200 employees are donating to United Way for $32,500. Baxter will match those donations for $65,000 total. The company has 580 workers in Medina.

Patterson said he sees more potential to raise even more money for United Way, which allocates funds to about 20 agencies in Orleans County.

Del Alvarez accepts a gift card from Dick Barry after Alvarez’s name was drawn as part of an incentive to encourage employees to donate or to boost their past contributions to United Way. Alvarez works in the company’s quality department.

“It is a great privilege to be a part of the Orleans County community and this company,” Patterson told the Baxter employees. “Each of us plays a part whether we volunteer in the community, whether we give of our money and our earnings, or whether we give of our time to help someone in need.”

In addition to financial donations, Baxter employees volunteer with many local agencies. Patterson said they logged 2,500 volunteer hours with the Community Kitchen in Albion, the Arc of Orleans County and Camp Rainbow, and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.

When Patterson arrived in Medina about 2 ½ years ago to lead the Medina manufacturing site, one of his first calls that day was to the United Way. He wanted to be a part of the agency’s efforts in Orleans County.

“It’s an outstanding opportunity to make an impact in the community,” he said.

About 200 Baxter employees contribute to the United Way and their contributions are matched by Baxter.

Baxter manufactures Sigma Spectrum pumps, which utilize smart infusion technology in the medical field. The Medina site inside the Olde Pickle Factory on Park Avenue produces smart-infusion pumps, devices that reduce medication errors by delivering the specific amounts of IV medications and fluids to patients.

Sigma was owned by Roger Hungerford, who sold the company to Baxter. Hungerford also was a big proponent of the United Way, Patterson said.

“Roger emphasized it,” Patterson said. “He is a person with a passion for Medina, for seeing the community thrive.”

Patterson recently accepted a new job with Baxter back at the company headquarters in Deerfield, Ill. At today’s meeting, he praised the generosity of the Medina workers and encouraged them to continue supporting United Way in the future.

United Way and Baxter partnered on a “Route 104” campaign. If employees gave a $1 a week to United Way, Baxter would match that contribution, for $104 total.