United Way names Volunteer of the Year

FINDLAY, Ohio (April 2, 2024) United Way of Hancock County is honored to recognize Brian Kreinbrink as its 2023 Jeri Bjorling Distinguished Volunteer of the Year for his exceptional and wide-ranging service, whether it be a hands-on project in the field or offering expertise on several boards of directors.

The award is presented each year to an individual who has demonstrated dedication and willingness to serve the community through their overall involvement with United Way as a volunteer and leader, as well as with other organizations in the nonprofit sector. Kreinbrink was honored for his service at United Way of Hancock County’s Annual Meeting on March 27.

Kreinbrink currently serves as treasurer of the United Way of Hancock County Board of Directors, and has served on the board since 2019. He is also chairman of the finance committee and is a member of the administrative advisory committee. Kreinbrink has served as an Impact Team member meaning that he helps review grant submissions for funding and has participated in Days of Caring, United Way’s communitywide service event, for several years. Kreinbrink also served on United Way’s campaign cabinets in the 1990s, helping to distribute and collect campaign materials.

“In his role with the finance committee, Brian has strengthened and improved our financial management operations, created a financial dashboard so effective it is an example now being used by other nonprofits, has successfully managed our investments, and reinforced the overall health of our finances,” said Angela DeBoskey, CEO of United Way of Hancock County. “He spends a great deal of time physically present at meetings adding insight, but on top of that, hours and hours looking over numbers and doing prep work for these meetings. We can’t thank him enough for the incredible impact he has made.”

Kreinbrink, director of treasury and financing risk at Marathon Petroleum Corp., enjoys lending his expertise to nonprofit financial management. With 19 programs currently being supported, he appreciates the unique position of the United Way to address the county’s greatest needs in a diversified way.

“Accounting is looking back, finance is looking forward,” he said. “Maybe that is why I like working with nonprofits you get to see the whole picture, investigate, check how you did on the back end and prepare for the future.

“I really have come to appreciate the broad nature on how what we do (at United Way) can have an impact and that it can move and change depending on what the community needs assessments says.”

In addition to board service, Kreinbrink enjoys helping in the field, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Backyard Mission Trip, and United Way’s Days of Caring. His most memorable Days of Caring project was helping to erect a huge Vietnam Memorial Wall, a travelling exhibit which came to Findlay last spring. His group carried stone pieces across a field and set them into place, assembling the wall.

“It was pretty impactful to be a part of that, setting up for veterans to be able to come and see it. You could see the names on the wall coming together as you were building it. It was a lot of responsibility. You think of the sacrifice they made.”

Throughout the community, Kreinbrink has served on the board of directors, often as president or treasurer, for American Red Cross, Findlay Family YMCA, Open Arms Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Services, and City Mission. He is currently a member of the finance committee for Blanchard Valley Health System.

Kreinbrink highly recommends volunteering to anyone considering it. He started volunteering because he wanted to make a difference and give back to his community, yet there were additional benefits. He has made close friends through service, and feels he has become a better person, too.

“I would treat volunteering the same way I would if I were talking to a young professional at Marathon don’t pass up an opportunity,” he said. “The more you push yourself to do things through work or volunteering, you end up getting more out of it than you could ever imagine. You just have to find what fits you, and that’s going to be different for everyone. I have gotten more out of it than I have given … it has made my life better.”

The Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award has been presented since 1981 and was renamed in 2012 in memory of Jeri Bjorling. Bjorling was chair of the United Way of Hancock County’s Board of Directors when she passed away. She was a remarkable volunteer, leaving an indelible impact throughout the community through her involvement both with the United Way and a wide range of service organizations. She was a difference maker in the truest sense.