Get Inspired: Five Volunteers Make a Difference

Those who make time to volunteer know that community service is an opportunity to combine doing what you love with improving the lives of people around you. But have you ever thought about how your company could help you make a bigger difference? With the support of the Verizon Foundation, these five Verizon Wireless employees have made a significant impact in their communities and around the country.

Raymond Hanson, a manager of Verizon Operations Cells and a licensed pilot, volunteers more than 250 hours a year flying missions for the Maine Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. The Civil Air Patrol flies 90 percent of the search and rescue missions for lost aircrafts in the US. As a volunteer, Ray has flown missions to find lost hikers, patrol during forest fire season and assist FEMA personnel during disasters.

On the ground, two people find very different ways to dedicate their time. John Helfrich, a cell technician, serves 12 hours a week responding to accident scenes and medical emergencies. In 2005, he took a four-week leave of absence from his job to travel to New Orleans to help in the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Joleen Heckman assists victims of domestic violence, offering personal guidance and support, accompanying them to court dates and providing valuable contacts. She also is a strong supporter of the HopeLine from Verizon program. 

Katrina Como, Customer Service Coordinator, has made nature a priority. She is a rescue specialist with the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project located on the Carolina and Kure Beaches in North Carolina. As part of the project, Katrina and other volunteers monitor and tag locations of sea turtle eggs to ensure the preservation of the species.

These volunteers weren’t alone in their work. The Verizon Foundation offers a $750 grant to a nonprofit organization when an employee volunteers 50 or more hours with the group in a calendar year. Last year alone, Verizon employees contributed nearly 700,000 volunteer hours to nonprofit organizations.

Inspired? Look into whether your company has a corporate volunteer program. If it doesn’t, talk to those you work with about the possibility of developing one.

You and your colleagues can truly make a difference.