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Everyone likes a good neighbor. Those people who are always there to lend a hand, no matter the request or time of day. In today’s fast paced world, neighbors like this are becoming more of a rarity. But when a friend reached out to Chateau Energy Solutions’ Senior Project Manager, Jay Branch, to lend a hand, Jay was all in. The people of Wrangell, Alaska truly appreciated his “neighborly” help.
Each summer, college students and volunteers from the Tennessee Chi Alpha chapter travel to a remote Alaska island to assist the Harbor Light Community Church. Harbor Light’s mission goes above and beyond by extending goodwill to the community. They also act as a community center to support the immediate needs of townspeople and provide neighborly festivities for the children and families.
Resources are limited in this small town where fishing is the primary source of income. Harbor Light invests many of its own resources for the betterment of the overall community. Outside volunteers fill in the gaps while providing much needed services. The volunteer team from Tennessee consisted of five college students and three adult leaders. They were tasked with everything – from setting up for a big July 4th celebration, and painting the church – to assisting with VBS, and improving the quality of lighting within the building led by an experienced Project Manager – Jay.
One of the highlights of the year for the people of Wrangell is the Annual Fourth of July Festival and Parade. The townspeople pull out all the stops for this event. It is like no other and goes from dawn to dusk. It is one of their most celebrated holidays and the community looks forward to it all year.
The festivities include a 5k walk/run, big wheel races, fishing derby, small boat races, egg toss, logging show, a big parade, and amazing fireworks. According to Jay, the entire community, all 2,500 residents, are involved in one form or another. However, over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to execute this celebratory event. Wrangell is a remote fishing village where resources are scarce, and the availability of local volunteers to help set up is minimal due to the busy summer fishing season.
“Thankfully, the college students were really hard working. We could not have done it without them,” said Jay. “I’m grateful that my company offers Volunteer Time Off to its employees so we can help in communities near and far.” Jay and the team of Tennessee volunteers did not mind the tight living quarters in the church basement during their weeklong mission trip. All were pleased to know they helped fill several needs. Seeing the gratitude and sheer joy from the Wrangell children made their 3,300-mile journey to meet new “neighbors” worthwhile.
The purpose of the Volunteer Time Off philanthropic program is to support activities that enhance and serve communities and the issues that impact quality of life. Employees can donate up to 40 hours, paid time off, per calendar year toward a charitable organization(s). Chateau Energy Solutions recognizes that volunteering for these activities enriches the lives of its employees as well as the communities served. Community is not defined as only local community but may encompass the global community.
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