While superheroes only exist in movies, comic books and our imaginations, there are many real-life heroes who go above and beyond to help those around them. Meet just a few of those employees who power our nuclear fleet and our communities.
Scott Wallace, Catawba Nuclear Station
By day, Scott Wallace is a technical training instructor at Catawba Nuclear Station. By night, she is a United Way of York County (S.C.) Unsung Hero – literally.
The agency awarded its honor of the same name to Scott at its 2018 awards luncheon for her years of dedication. Scott serves on the United Way board of directors as its secretary; leads a significant allocation committee for United Way funding; spends at least one week (usually two) of her vacation at the end of every year managing the Holiday Partners/Toys for Happiness warehouse and distribution process to ensure thousands of York County residents have happy holidays; and performs countless other United Way volunteer tasks throughout the year.
Her commitment to United Way and its work in York County is inspiring.
“Scott Wallace is truly a dedicated and committed volunteer,” says Rebecca Melton, president of the United Way of York County. “She has been a volunteer with United Way for many years serving in various leadership roles. She has a heart of gold and gives countless hours of her time to make our community a better place to live. We can always count on her to not only provide help for those in need but to lift up the spirit of everyone in the room.”
Sammy Durante, Robinson Nuclear Plant
Sammy Durante is a mechanic at the Robinson Nuclear Plant on the maintenance fix-it-now team, a group that works on emergent maintenance needs. This team is the maintenance equivalent of a first responder, as their work can come unexpectedly with any call. It’s no surprise Sammy excels in this world. When he’s not at the plant, you can find him at the local fire station, where he’s Captain Sammy Durante.
When Sammy left his welding career to work for Duke Energy, the consistent work location meant he could pursue volunteering at station nine in the Lydia community of Darlington County.
Just as the nuclear industry expects a safety-first mentality of everyone working at a nuclear facility, being a volunteer firefighter involves looking out for yourself and those you work with. “They both focus on training and safety,” Sammy said. “Our program is much like the station’s. We have regular training because things are always changing.”
Volunteers like Sammy make up approximately two thirds of the United States’ firefighters. These men and women are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “The fire department is a team of dedicated people,” Sammy is quick to say. “It’s a special group of people, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
More every day heroes
Scott Wallace and Sammy Durante are just a few of the Duke Energy nuclear employees who are serving their neighbors in heroic ways. Joseph Briggs, a security officer at McGuire Nuclear Station, started a support group for local veterans. After returning home from the Army, he saw a need to connect personally with other veterans in Lincoln County, North Carolina.
And, Anthony Rhodes, a security officer at Brunswick Nuclear Plant, helped save the life of a kayaker while fishing at Lockwood Folly Inlet with his cousin. Thanks to the quick reaction of Anthony and his cousin, the kayaker recovered in a nearby hospital.
These nuclear employees may not be superheroes, but they are making an important difference in their own way, every day.