We’re not only brothers, we are also co-workers and volunteer for the same organization. I joined PSEG four and a half years ago as a grade 1 lineman of the Electric Transmission and Distribution Mobile Construction Workforce, and my brother, Tom, joined two years ago as an apprentice lineman with Southern Division.
When most people travel to Exuma – a Bahamian island known for its luxury resorts – they usually have rest and relaxation on their minds. When we travel there, we are thinking something totally different. We take the spirit of volunteerism that was instilled in us as kids, and encouraged by PSEG, and apply it toward Starve Poverty – a nonprofit that seeks to break the chains of poverty by deploying people into communities to help meet humanitarian, educational, medical, social, and spiritual needs around the world.
Starve Poverty was founded by Ron Fraser, who is a member of our local church. Ron was invited to Exuma to teach courses on marriage and individual counseling. However, once he saw the poverty on the island, he changed his focus to helping people get out of poverty. Due to our electrical and carpentry skills, Ron asked us to join the team to help build and restore housing for those in need. Once we saw the mission behind Starve Poverty and the true hearts of the people serving down there, we knew it would be a fulfilling, heartfelt and personal experience.
Our trips are planned for one week each year between January and March; are done on our own time; and funded at our own expense. The conditions in Exuma outside of the resorts are poor. While there are luxury resorts there, many residents – especially women and children – suffer from extreme poverty and have been placed in emergency housing, much of which has sustained major structural damage over the years.
During our time in Exuma, we help re-roof, restore and paint these emergency housing units. Everything is done by hand by our team of 10 to 20 volunteers. The amount of work we can get done in one week is nothing short of amazing and there hasn’t been a project that we haven’t been able to complete.
We feel that our efforts have been inspirational to the residents of Exuma, motivating them as a community to step up and help each other.
Starve Poverty is a wonderful organization that is doing wonderful things. Since getting involved, we have continued to donate our time every year because we love it so much. We’ve developed great relationships with the Bahamian people as well, and the trips are making us appreciate everything we are doing so much more. The fact that PSEG’s new Power of One campaign is spotlighting what the volunteers in our organization are doing on their own time to help others makes us both proud. PSEG is committed to strengthening communities and supporting employee volunteerism, and we are honored to be a part of such a great company.
Serving communities and watching how your work is helping those who need it most is extremely humbling. Whether it’s one week, one day, one hour or one minute, get out there and give back.
At its core, service is about one person, one moment of need, one good deed at a time. PSEG’s Power of One is an initiative to celebrate employee citizenship and volunteerism, as well as that of individuals in the communities we serve. Hear the stories of these upstanding citizens in Energize and learn how they demonstrate the Power of One.