04.27.2020|Inside Verizon

More time to do good.

By: Dave Boerger

Our COVID-19 Leave program allows select medically trained and certified employees to volunteer full time.

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Fred Ackerly, a network technician of 21 years from Wanaque, NJ, loves helping others.

“Volunteering has always been a big part of me,” said Fred. “At one point I had said to myself, ‘what would be better than joining the First Aid squad?’ Then, once I joined, my goal was to become an EMT, which I achieved last year.”

By making it possible for highly skilled volunteers like Fred to take a leave of absence to help, Verizon is finding new ways to support those impacted by the coronavirus.

“As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re offering our medically trained and certified employees a fully paid leave of absence to go out on the front lines and assist those communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Tre Holder, Senior Analyst, Talent Acquisition.

This was welcome news to Fred. “As soon as I heard about the leave program I was on it. I knew my squad was hurting. We’re shorthanded, especially now. I couldn’t get the application in fast enough.”

For the next eight weeks, Fred will be on leave from his regular job at Verizon so that he work full time on the front lines with his town’s first aid squad - a daunting challenge during a pandemic. “I’m a little nervous being on the forefront of the virus,” said Fred. “But I’m excited. I look forward to being able to serve my community and be there for them.”

The community is more than happy to have him. “People like Fred don’t come along very often, so when you find someone like him, you’re very grateful,” said Wanaque First Aid Captain Patty Norton. “He’ll be scheduled for duty not only nights, but day shifts and weekends.”

In the fight against a deadly virus, Fred is a hero, yet he is the one who appears the most thankful.

“This opportunity has me speechless,” he said. “So many people are getting laid off, going on unemployment, and here my company is paying me to be a full-time EMT for my volunteer organization. Words can’t describe that. It’s overwhelming.”

About the author(s):

Dave Boerger is a part of the Verizon Corporate Communications team and a regular contributor to Up To Speed. He's a recovering marketer and sitcom writer.

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