One Small Act Leads to a Giant Impact

Utility Employees are recognized for their community impact

This past April, the entire team of employees at Utility’s Marion, Virginia reefer manufacturing plant received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Rotary Club of Marion, Virginia, for the immense good they have done for the communities where they live. The ceremony took place at the Marion Rotary Annual Awards Dinner. The motto for Rotary International is “Service Above Self” and that is what the employees of Utility’s Marion plant have embodied.

“For the first time in its 60 years of giving the Citizen of the Year award for service to the community, it wasn’t awarded to an individual. Instead, the Marion Rotary Club selected a group of employees as its Citizen of the Year. Utility Marion employees were chosen for the incredible impact their UECC program is having all across southwest Virginia and beyond,” said Dr. Dana Chamberlain, a local dentist and Rotary member.

Utility Employees Changing Communities (UECC) is a program conceived and initiated by Marion plant employees in 2017. “Every week, Utility provides one free meal as a ‘thank you’ to all employees based on the previous week’s collective efficiency results. The better the result, the better the meal,” said Jerry Sheets, Plant Manager at the Utility Marion facility. “UECC came about in March 2017 when employees had the idea to forgo every 4th week’s meal and instead donate the collective value of that meal to public schools, senior citizens, and special needs children.”

When twelve-hundred people work in unison to do good things, the outcome can be enormous and entire communities can be enriched.

Through the UECC program, Marion’s twelve-hundred employees have donated $442,582, delivering checks to 79 public schools in 23 counties throughout 4 different states. Additionally, every check donated through the UECC program is hand-delivered by a Utility employee.

“It’s an honor for our employees to receive this award. After two years of UECC, there is simply no way to fully convey the impact and lasting impressions it has indelibly imprinted on so many of us at Utility. The fact that our work as trailer builders can translate into providing things that make a positive difference in the lives of children, teachers, parents, seniors, and special needs kids—how do you really capture that in words? I cannot,” concluded Mr. Sheets.

Here’s how one recipient has captured it in words, “The employees of Utility through the UECC program, have made an unbelievable impact on the education of students of Smyth County Schools through their donations in allowing our schools to financially purchase instructional supplies, facility improvements, educational and instructional equipment, and fund educational field trips for our underprivileged students.

Furthermore, the engagement of Utility employees in reading to our elementary students at schools and volunteering at our schools has made a tremendous impact on our students educationally, giving several students the desire to work at Utility after high school. The total UECC program has made an incredible positive impact on all our schools and students,” said Michael L. Sturgill, Director of Instruction, Smyth County Schools.

Pictured Left to Right: Curtis Wilmouth, General Foreman; Lisa Edmiston, Night Shift General Foreman;
Jerry Sheets, Plant Manager; Anthony Key, Night Shift Assembler; Dr. Chamberlain, Dentist and Rotary Club Member.

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