Giving back to communities
The Thoroughbred Volunteers, Norfolk Southern’s formal volunteer program, is all about employees giving back and being a part of the communities where they live and work. In 2015, Thoroughbred Volunteers played active roles in Norfolk; Atlanta; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Greenville, S.C.
These volunteers recorded 2,500 volunteer hours during chapter-sponsored events. Those hours do not include the time NS employees invested volunteering on their own for schools, churches, civic clubs, and other community organizations across 22 states.
In Altoona, Pa., for example, employees on the Juniata Locomotive Shop safety and service committee held fundraising drives for the local Toys for Tots and three area food banks.
“We look at volunteering as part of social performance.
It strengthens our ties with local communities.”
–Marjorie Heard, chair, Atlanta Thoroughbred Volunteers
Ways We Give Back
Stephen Young: Building a tradition of volunteering
Before joining Norfolk Southern in 1999, Stephen Young had never been involved in community volunteer work. Now, Young, manager intermodal equipment, is a fixture with the Norfolk Thoroughbred Volunteers. He has twice earned Volunteer of the Year award for most volunteer hours and has chaired the group for the past year.
A favorite project of his is the annual Hampton Roads Family VOLUNTEER Day, a half-day food-packing event to assist local charities. Young and his daughter, Amber, have made it a family tradition, participating together for the past 15 years – since Amber, now in college, was five years old.
For the 2015 event, Norfolk Southern employees who work in the 21-story headquarters building collected canned foods by floors as part of a competition Young helped organize. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the father-daughter team joined more than 1,000 local volunteers to pack nonperishable food items for 14 nonprofits ranging from homeless shelters to food banks.
Initially, Young said his motive for getting Amber involved was to help her develop a history of volunteer work for college applications and job resumes. Now, both are hooked on volunteering for its own sake.
“We caught the spirit,” he said. “We love experiencing the benefit of seeing joy on people’s faces.”
Young hopes to make Family VOLUNTEER Day a multigenerational tradition. “The company introduced me to it, I introduced my daughter to it, and I’d like to introduce my grandchildren one day,” he said. “We feel good when we volunteer, and we know we’re lucky to be in a position to be able to do it.”
“I think it’s important for us all to give back and
show our support for the initiatives our communities have.”
–Porshia Cross, chair,
Piedmont Thoroughbred Volunteers