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With great optimism, Dr. Sandra Wallace Nethels, Special Programs Coordinator for the Effingham County School District, welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the United Way of the Coastal Empire Effingham County Advisory Board in 2013. She happily took on the role of Board Secretary. With all the meetings, events, and fundraising, the job was as busy as it was essential. However, the health of her community always remained at the forefront of her mind. The smiling faces of families and individuals on the receiving end of food pantries, clothing donations, and all other sorts of help was all the reason she needed to stay. And so she did, for five years. Within that time span, she advanced to Vice Chair and Chair—changing lives in all the best ways possible.
             Dr. Nethels believes in her community first. Born and raised in Effingham County, she grew up amongst family, friends, and neighbors who gave her the support she needed to succeed. “They are my village, and they have always stood behind me. They taught me to give from my heart, and that is what I do.” Her father, the late Mr. Homer Lee Wallace, was the co-founder of the Effingham County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as well as the first African-American County Commissioner. He was also a military veteran for the United States Army. Mr. Wallace worked closely with leaders of the community to ensure the wellbeing of our residents overall. He was a leading example for his daughter, encouraging her to be an advocate for those in need. She took after his selfless spirit, lending her time and energy to help resolve the hardships of numerous people in her path. When United Way entered her life, she grew unstoppable in her efforts.
“I’ve always been passionate about making sure that everyone is able to receive what they need and that’s what United Way is all about,” said Dr. Nethels. “United Way is a part of me and vice versa because service to others is important.”
Currently, Dr. Nethels continues to give back through United Way. As before she continues to reserve time out of her busy schedule to further care for her friends and neighbors. She currently servies on the Community Investments Committee. In this role, her talents ensure United Way agencies have the network and resources to move our community forward, together. In doing so, she has had opportunities to have meaningful discussions regarding possible solutions to solve some of our region’s most complex issues.
“I have been able to collaborate with others who are very involved in their community,” said Dr. Nethels. “You can see their passion. It makes for such a great experience with serving under United Way.”
United Way is extremely honored to improve lives across the region with the support of volunteers like Dr. Nethels. Her outstanding work with our organization is impacting the well-being of others for the better, and we value her contributions. Most of all, we are pleased that she is choosing to make history with us.
“United Way stands for everything that is good. They provide accessible resources across the counties, and they are accepting of everyone. I stand with United Way because United Way stands with me.”
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