Michelle Washington, left, digs a hole for a new hosta to be planted at the USO building May 23 as Leanna Shiflett open a bag of soil. The Dominion employees, both of whom have served in the Army, were among about 20 volunteers beautifying the exterior of the USO.

FORT LEE, Va. (May 30, 2012) -- More than two dozen Dominion Virginia Power employees participated in two projects at Fort Lee May 23 as part of the corporation's early salute to Memorial Day, military personnel, veterans and their Families.

In a single day, power company volunteers carried out projects at 26 sites in 10 states as part of its Dominion Energizing Communities program.

One group of volunteers working here improved the landscaping around the USO and built two picnic tables for its visitors. The other group supported a Whispers of Love project beside the Army Community Service building on Mahone Avenue where they prepared a complimentary lunch for about 200 visitors and gave away phone cards and books. A registered nurse was there to provide free blood pressure checks as well.

"What is special about this effort is that employees themselves selected the projects and recipient organizations," said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Many of our employees are veterans or friends and family of veterans, and they personally know the needs in their communities and have chosen to help address them.

"This is just one of the many ways Dominion thanks those who have honorably served our country," said Farrell. The utility company has a long-standing history of military support. The company employs 1,300 veterans in 14 states and for the third year in a row made the "Best for Vets 2012: Employers" list at Military Times EDGE magazine.

Each of the 26 projects received $1,000 to provide supplies for the day's work.
Veterans were plentiful among the volunteers at the USO last week. Michelle Washington, who retired from the Army after 21 years as a truck driver and heavy wheel repair mechanic, and Leanna Shiflett, who served four years as an Army petroleum system specialist, worked together planting hostas near the entrance to the USO. Washington is now a Dominion payroll support specialist and Shiflett, an administrative assistant.

As other volunteers raked, planted and watered around the USO, a pair of veterans built picnic tables with a commonwealth of Virginia retiree who had tagged along with his girlfriend, a Dominion worker. Dan Boch, a Navy submariner for nine years, and Richard Burks, who served nearly 23 years in the Army and Army National Guard, helped Virginia retiree Robert Farley assemble the two tables with attached benches. Boch now works at Dominion in nuclear quality assurance. Burks is a laborer for the utility company.

Virginia Byerson and her group of Dominion volunteers provided a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs with seasonal side dishes for active duty personnel who wanted a change from dining facility fare and for veterans, retirees and Family members who stopped by.

Byerson is the founder and chief executive officer of Whispers of Love, which she started in late 2007. Her non-profit organization has a special emphasis on helping homeless veterans. Byerson is a contracting officer with the Defense Logistics Agency.

Page last updated Wed May 30th, 2012 at 23:35