By Tony Khing
But besides looking out for those veterans at home, the company has recognized the importance of helping military personnel serving away from home or overseas.
On June 1 at PG&E’s Bishop Ranch offices, more than 30 PG&E employee volunteers loaded 70 care packages addressed for shipment to U.S. military personnel overseas. Overall, more than 75 volunteers spent nearly 190 hours preparing, collecting items and executing the project.
PG&E employees from San Ramon donated non-perishable foods, powdered drinks, toiletries, DVD movies, playing cards, magazines and cash. The packages are being shipped by Operation Creekside, a non-profit organization located in Discovery Bay. Operation Creekside has sent more than 10,000 care boxes to military personnel since its founding in 2007.
Deb Affonsa, vice president of customer service, was touched by the efforts of the volunteers. Affonsa, an executive sponsor of the Veterans Employee Resource Group’s East Bay chapter, had family members who participated in World War I and II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
“I take great pride in the work PG&E does in the community. In this instance, the community is thousands of miles away,” said Affonsa. “It’s great to see our employees come out and support our brothers and sisters in the military. I’m honored and thrilled to be part of it.”
Besides the Veterans ERG, PG&E’s NuEnergy ERG’s East Bay chapter helped with planning the event and preparing care packages. “It was truly an honor to work with Operation Creekside and the Veterans ERG,” said Michael Chu, an asset strategist and NuEnergy ERG East Bay chapter president. “I’m inspired by everyone coming together to perform this amazing work.”
“When you have the employee support and a lot of goods to pack, it helps us get more care packages out to our troops,” said Ed McClelland, director of Operation Creekside. “PG&E is a great company to partner with in this endeavor.”
The June 1 care package event was the first time the Veterans and NuEnergy ERGs have worked with Operation Creekside. The idea for this project came from Eric Boettcher, a human resources emergency management specialist, Veterans ERG community outreach director and an active U.S. Army Reserve colonel serving out of Dublin’s Camp Parks. Boettcher met McClelland through his church and was one of the organization’s first care package recipients while serving in Iraq.
“There are soldiers in harm’s way in the Middle East and Korea. Our boxes will be going there to boost morale and show the support from people in the States,” said Boettcher. “A lot of our personnel are forgotten over there. Less than one percent of our population currently serves in the military. This is an easy means for civilians to give support to our military personnel overseas.”
Active military personnel appreciated PG&E’s efforts. “To see the PG&E employees come out in force is amazing. This lets our soldiers know that the people they’re serving are thinking about them all the time. This is a big thing,” said Col. Jon Ellis, deputy commander of the Pacific Training Division, 75th Training Command at Camp Parks.
“When it comes to events like this,” said Affonsa, “I’m proud to work for PG&E. This isn’t about us, this is about giving back to our men and women in the military and showing our active support.”
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.