Sustainability in action:
Where good health meets good deeds
As part of our employee wellness program, WellNS, Norfolk Southern in 2011 introduced Power Train, an initiative that combines physical fitness and charitable giving. Misty Braden organized a Power Train team in Knoxville to help fund breast cancer research after a colleague was diagnosed with the disease.
After learning last year that a colleague had breast cancer, Misty Braden, a train dispatcher in Knoxville, Tenn., wanted to help. Already skilled in community outreach through volunteer work with the Operation Lifesaver railroad public safety program, Braden decided to organize a Norfolk Southern Power Train team. The purpose: To raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, a nonprofit group dedicated to ending breast cancer.
Any NS employee can organize a Power Train team to raise money for a charitable cause. The teams must have at least 10 employees who agree to participate in some kind of physical activity, such as a run or walk, in support of a nonprofit organization. In exchange, NS donates $1,000 to the charity.
“I’d been wanting to do a 5K run for a while,” Braden says, “so I sent an e-mail out to people in all different departments in the division and talked to people one-on-one.” Once she explained that NS would donate $1,000 toward breast cancer research, “everyone wanted to participate,” Braden said.
By September 2012, Braden had a 45-member team. They did fundraising for 30 days, completed a 5K Race for the Cure® run in Knoxville, and brought in $3,000.
In addition to the sizeable donation to fight breast cancer, Braden’s efforts inspired several employees to make permanent lifestyle changes for better health. After the Race for the Cure, several members of Braden’s Power Train team completed a run that benefitted the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. Braden plans to organize another Power Train team to support Alzheimer’s research.
“Some of our team members joined the Couch to 5K program, which is designed to get you off the couch and able to do a 5K run in eight weeks,” Braden said. “I think this has been an inspiration to several people to improve their health.”