Why I Volunteer: An Open Letter to Duke Energy

By Steve Kennedy, nuclear security officer, Catawba Nuclear Station

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed helping others. As a child, I often heard my teacher at church or school ask for a volunteer. They usually needed help with something as simple as setting up chairs for an event or handing out tests. As a teenager, I got more involved in community events such as park clean-ups or visiting retirement facilities.

Steve Kennedy - Korea
Steve Kennedy - 1981 in South Korea.

It wasn’t until I joined the Air Force that I truly understood what it meant to volunteer. My first duty assignment was in South Korea. My supervisor encouraged me to volunteer a few hours a month. Our unit sponsored one of many orphanages near the base. It was then I saw the impact an individual can have on a community. I have continued volunteering in some capacity throughout my career.

I joined the Duke Energy team in early 2011. My first volunteer experience was when co-worker Tia Woodson introduced me to York County’s Toys for Happiness holiday bike drive. That moment grew into a great annual event for Catawba Nuclear Station, as well as a great friendship.

Steve (third from the left), Tia (fourth from the left) and fellow teammates volunteering at Toys for Happiness

As I’ve been with the company longer, I’ve learned of more volunteer opportunities. In the past few years, I’ve enjoyed events like park clean-ups, reading to small groups of children, mentoring teenagers during career fairs, escorting plant tours and working with Habitat for Humanity on building a home. Volunteering has allowed me to build great relationships with both Duke employees and those who live in our community.

Catawba Nuclear Station teammates volunteering with Habitat for Humanity

We all have our reasons why or why not to volunteer. For those who have served in this way, you understand the satisfaction you receive from selflessly helping others. For those who have only thought about it, I highly recommend you give it a try. There are even events that are as short as 30 minutes. I look forward to meeting more teammates at future events.

Giving back may look different during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we're still finding ways to make a difference.

For more ways Duke Energy and our employees are giving back, check out these stories on Illumination.


Comments (1)

Posted July 13, 2020 by Terri Pope
What a feel good story. I try to volunteer a lot also, and love helping others, I just wish that more people would try it. There is always a need somewhere, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes with it...……...is worth it in itself !!! Way to go you ALL !!

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