Over the course of 2021, we will feature 100 Heroes who have been instrumental in our fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of our neighbors for the past century. To learn more about how we are continuing to serve the Bluegrass in 2021, click here.
Today we are interviewing Tim and Anna Cambron, longtime supporters, current Woodford Board of Trustees members, and the owners of Ruggles Sign.
What is your current or former role with UWBG and Ruggles Sign?
We are an employer located in Woodford County with the business we own, Ruggles Sign. Over the years, the company has historically been one of the higher per capita employee contributors in Woodford County. We always take a lot of pride in the fact that our per capita contribution is high.
We have a high percentage of employees that contribute to United Way. We are always really proud of that. We rarely ever ask our employees to give to anything, but we do so for United Way. We ask them to think hard and understand that it is through giving that you receive. It is important to have that mindset.
We started working for Ruggles Sign 36 years ago while we were in college. The business started in 1946 and we are currently celebrating our 75th year. We eventually bought the business from my (Anna’s) grandfather. We have always worked together. We co-own, manage, and run the operation together. I handle the financial side of the business while Tim handles the sales side. We work together every day and we have for almost 36 years. We’ve been married for 35 years in June. It has been hard, but it has been a rewarding and important part of our lives. We are happy to get to do it together.
As far as the day-to-day business, we have general managers and an operation manager to help with various things, but we are still very hands-on in our business. We are here everyday. Frankly, we work harder than we ever have. Through the pandemic, we never stopped. Sign businesses are considered essential businesses. We got into an arena that we hadn’t ever before by making and providing plexiglass barriers that stores, restaurants and schools have been using to safely reopen.
We work everyday and keep working every day. We feel blessed to do that and to be able to do that.
United Way has been a very important organization to us for many years. Over 27 years ago we moved from Lexington to Versailles and we were involved with United Way prior to the move. I (Anna) am currently on the local Board of Trustees in Woodford county for UWBG.
How is Ruggles Sign related to United Way? How did that partnership originate?
We don’t really remember how it all began, but it was more than 25 years ago that we started supporting United Way of the Bluegrass.
One of the things that attracted us to United Way is the fact that it doesn’t just help one single segment or one county. We have employees coming to work from multiple counties and it was appealing to support an organization with a regional impact. This is important because a lot of people want to give local. It is important for some employees who live in other counties to know that their money can support programs and people in their own communities.
People feel like they can donate their money to United Way and trust they will responsibly invest donations. United Way does the vetting and checks out the different organizations that are in need. It feels like a good, responsible way to give. You feel like you’re touching different areas of need in the community without having to take it all on by yourself.
If encouraging someone to get involved with UWBG, what would you encourage them to do? What advice would you give them?
People start out slow and have questions. Our advice to someone giving for the first time, is that whatever you give is going to help. Regardless of the amount. People tend to think “I can’t give a lot, so it’s not going to matter,” but when a lot of people give a little, it makes a difference. We would encourage them that no matter the size of the gift, it’s important to give back. Something we try to instill in our kids to make them think about giving is that the amount continues to grow. At some point, the small giver becomes a major giver. It makes people feel good to feel like they’ve helped someone.
In the past during our campaigns at Ruggles Sign, we’ve been able to give and have representatives come in from different agencies and programs supported by United Way. We’ve heard employees talking about the stories that have really had an influence on them, and it really makes them feel good about giving. They get to hear directly from United Way how they’re helping and that means a lot to our employees.
What is your favorite project that you have worked on with UWBG or that you have seen UWBG work on?
We always like it when they come in and they share their testimonials and stories with employees. They often bring a guest speaker or they show a video to illustrate the impact of United Way’s work and donors. That really sticks out.
If you were trying to convince someone to move to the Bluegrass area, how would you convince them?
We live in a pretty small neighborhood and have a new neighbor. I (Tim) went over to introduce myself and kinda felt weird asking the question, “where did you move here from?” I thought they were going to say Cynthiana, Paris or Lexington, but they came from Long Island, New York. That’s quite a move. I would talk about how warm and inviting the Bluegrass is and how beautiful the rolling Kentucky countryside is.
If you’re not from this area, we don’t know that people truly realize what a giving community it is. I think the Bluegrass area is a great place to live and raise our family. People really care about each other and are there to dig in and help. It’s just a great place to be and we feel blessed to live and work in the Bluegrass.
What is your favorite local restaurant in the Bluegrass area?
We have to be careful with this one as we have some good friends in the restaurant business. Malones, Bella Notte and Heirloom are some of our favorites. We really like the Midway restaurants. We’ve got a new favorite called Don Jockey. They have a different menu, it’s not your traditional Mexican food and it’s just a different vibe. Ricardo’s is a great spot, too, here in Versailles.
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Tim and Anna! We appreciate you and all that you've done.
Do you know someone who has worked alongside United Way of the Bluegrass in the past century who should be considered for our 100 Heroes series? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your nomination!