SOURCE: Pacific Gas and Electric Company
By Tracy Correa
From helping improve the lives of children in a low-income neighborhood to supporting a family car show to benefit local youth to encouraging those with disabilities to play soccer, PG&E employees are making a difference in their communities.
And, on Thursday (Oct. 25), these exemplary employees were honored by the utility with Frederick W. Mielke Jr. Awards at an afternoon reception at PG&E’s San Francisco headquarters.
For 25 years, PG&E has recognized its top volunteers with a community service award named for a former chairman and CEO. In honoring the winners, PG&E will donate $5,000 to the nonprofit organization of each winner’s choice.
This year’s winners are:
Here is a look at each of the Mielke winners:
Enjoli Black, a customer outreach specialist for PG&E in Bakersfield, supports the Friendship House which serves low-income children.
Black is on the advisory board for the Friendship Housecommunity center in southeast Bakersfield. The center – which provides educational and recreational services to children from low-income families – closed in 2006 due to financial hardship.
And Black has been there every step of the way, lending her support to help the center any way she can.
“I just want them to be as financially secure as possible so they never have to close their doors again,” said Black, who has already committed her $5,000 Mielke Award to Friendship House.
She grew up in Oakland attending a community center much like the Friendship House and understands the importance for children to have a safe place to visit, play and learn. Black said she also realizes how critical it is to give back to help others, just as so many helped her along the way. “So many have helped develop me into the person I am today,” she said.
Team Award: Max Snyder, Bill Neiley, Alan Tucker, Stan Lacey, Jim Griffis and Ken Pearson
Snyder, a safety program consultant, and his team of Redding co-workers have been supporters and volunteers of the Kool April Nites Car Show. “It’s more than a car show, it’s a week-long series of events,” explains Snyder.
A team of PG&E employees in Redding has made a long-term commitment to working with Kool April Nites, a car show that raises money for local charities.
Kool April Nites is a family-focused event that includes a cruise night with about 1,800 classic cars, food and live music and much more. It’s a throw-back to the days of bobby socks and pony tails. All of the proceeds — more than $400,000 to date — support local youth groups, including school organizations that have fallen victim to recent budget cuts.
Snyder got involved 20 years ago and serves on the board of directors. Over the years, he has enlisted the support of his PG&E colleagues, including Neiley, Tucker, Lacey, Griffis and Pearson. The entire team received the Mielke Award and will give the $5,000 to the Kool April Nites.
His group supports Kool April Nites because they enjoy it, said Snyder. “The [Mielke] award was fantastic … icing on the cake,” he said.
Charles Strong has been volunteering for the American Youth Soccer Organization VIP (Very Important Players) program in Salinas since 1998. The program – with the motto “everyone plays” – provides a soccer team experience for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Charles Strong, a PG&E gas mapping technician in Salinas, supports a soccer program in that city for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
“This program is so much more than just soccer,” said Strong, a PG&E employee for more than three decades. He said it provides the players with something much more meaningful in the end and a feeling of belonging. “I can never imagine this not being part of my life,” said Strong, who has committed his $5,000 award to the soccer program.
Greg Pruett, PG&E’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, commended the award winners for serving their communities and spoke about the importance of the utility and its workers giving back to their customers.
“We need to actually give back to them for the privilege they give us to serve them,” he said.
“Volunteering is an essential element at PG&E,” Pruett said.
Snyder agreed: “I think everyone should volunteer and give back to their community.”
One of the three Mielke Award winners will be chosen to represent PG&E at the Jefferson Awards in Washington, D.C. These awards have been described as a Nobel Prize for public service.
Email Tracy Correa at email@example.com.
KEYWORDS: Human Resources, Volunteering, People, Social Action & Community Engagement, Community, Engagement, Positive Change, Social Development, Social Gifting, Social Change, Social Actions, Teen Action, Volunteerism, Women, Youth Action