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When a cookie isn’t just a cookie

At any moment, a first responder can be asked to put his or her life on the line to protect their communities. This thought is top of mind for United Bank teller Kathrine Wood, who has three police officers, a police dispatcher and three firefighters in her family.

Every Thanksgiving Day, to thank these men and women who don’t get the holiday off, Kathrine, her husband and her young son, David, bring cookies and a thank you card to the officers and firefighters at Madison Township Fire Station, Richland County Sheriff’s Office, Mansfield Police Department and Ontario Police Department. David passes out the cookies and the family makes it a point to shake every person’s hand.

“It takes a special person to want to save others before themselves,” said Kathrine, who joined United Bank in 2013. “I’m hoping this leaves a lasting impression on those who protect us daily and on my son as well. This is something I want him to continue in the future with his children.

“Our extended family is too far away to come together for the holiday, but this is something we can do together in our house,” she said. “It makes me feel good to know they recognize someone cares about them. It’s a challenging life decision to take on that role, and to have a perfect stranger come up, not wanting anything from you, giving a small gesture. Their face and reaction tells me they appreciate it.”

The first year the family visited a police station, one of the officers began crying when David handed her a cookie.

While this cookie tradition is something Kathrine does on her own, she said giving back to and showing appreciation for the community is infused in her United colleagues’ DNA.

“There are good people who work here who have soft hearts and good spirits. They want to affect the community,” she said.

Thank you, Kathrine. We’re proud to call you a United Banker.