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PSEG Celebrates the Power of Volunteerism


Recognizes Exemplary Employee Volunteers and Awards $34,000 to the Non-Profit Organizations they Support

Newark, NJ – PSEG will celebrate the power of volunteers Wednesday at a ceremony recognizing exemplary employee volunteers and rewarding the nonprofit organizations they support. Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells will be part of the festivities, helping the company award $34,000 in grants to nonprofits as part of its annual Recognizing Excellence in Volunteerism program.

“Though our employees expend a great deal of energy at work, they still manage to find time to give back and make their communities better,” said Ralph Izzo, PSEG chairman, president, and CEO. “This year again, we honor their commitment and support their efforts. They are truly remarkable.”

The nonprofits receiving the grants are as diverse as the employees who support them. This year’s recipient organizations provide valuable services for youth, elderly, low-income families and schools, and concentrate their efforts on areas such as substance abuse prevention, conservation, animal rescue, safety and cultural education.

Here is a list of awardees.

$10,000 Betty Flood Award of Excellence:

Given to team led by Rich Dwyer of Bayonne, NJ
New Jersey Tae Kwon Do for Youth Organization
This team of PSEG employees is working to make a difference in the lives of at-risk children growing up in tough Jersey City neighborhoods. They are providing students with guidance and mentorship, and showing them how they can make a difference in their community. The organization has helped the kids organize toy, coat and book drives, plant community gardens, clear vacant lots and riverfronts and volunteer at community events. The kids involved with the group are thriving academically and athletically, and learning to take the world into their own hands.

$ 3,000 Award of Achievement:

James Christiano of Colonia, NJ
Eagle Rock Reservation Conservancy
A strong advocate of open space preservation, Christiano works to help restore and maintain Eagle Rock Reservation. The grant money given by PSEG will be used to purchase educational materials for visitors.

Cheryl Olcheski of Kearny, NJ
American Red Cross of Northern NJ
Olcheski spends 150 hours a year responding to reports of accidents. She is often the first Red Cross representative on the scene, working with emergency management officials to assess damage and the urgent needs of victims. She works to ensure that people affected have food, shelter and clothing, and that they are aware of government agencies and programs that can help.

Karen Roots of Salem, NJ
Positive Impact Movement, Inc.
An incredibly visible leader, Roots has spent years working to make her community safer. As President of this nonprofit organization, she works closely with local officials, organizing town hall forums, events and programs aimed at helping protect youth and senior citizens.

David Rower of Cranford, NJ
The Street Light Mission, Inc.
Rower spends more than 500 hours a year helping people in Union and Essex County survive poverty, substance abuse and homelessness. He and his wife provide the downtrodden with warm meals and shelter, as well as guidance about how to live productively. PSEG’s grant money will allow the nonprofit to buy washing machines to launder clothes.

$1,000 Award of Merit:

Scott Bickhart of Pennsville. NJ
Southern NJ Council, Boy Scouts of America
Bickhart leads a pack of Cub Scouts, a troop of Boy Scouts and advises a co-ed unit called Venture Crew 252. He has given more than 1,000 hours this year in an effort to teach young people about values and ethics.

Susanna Chiu of East Brunswick, NJ
Chinese American Cultural Association Mid-Jersey Chinese School
Chiu is Principal of this school, which is promoting cultural diversity and understanding, in addition to providing Chinese language instruction to students who might not otherwise have this opportunity.

Lisa Coons of Bayonne, NJ
Angels for Animals Network
Coons works to rescue and find adoptive homes for homeless and abused animals, in addition to coordinating spay and neuter programs for feral cats in neighborhoods in Northern New Jersey.

Robert A. Green of Colonia, NJ
Colonia Volunteer Fire Department in Woodbridge Township
Green is Assistant Fire Chief at a department involved with firefighting and specialized rescue throughout Middlesex County. He works around the clock to protect his neighbors from fires, accidents, floods, snow storms and other elements and recently led a team that helped rescue firefighters trapped in high waters during a Nor’easter.

Michael Gaffney of Rutherford, NJ
Rutherford Little League
Gaffney spends hundreds of hours every year--coaching, scheduling, managing, driving, and repairing ball fields-- in an effort to provide a stable facility and framework for kids to grow and learn to love sports.

Francis Grenier of Woodstown, NJ
Bishop Guilfoyle School
Grenier gives his time and expertise to help the school gain access to technology and integrate it into the classroom. In addition to his hands-on work with the school’s computers, he is helping students explore their interest in science and build self-confidence.

Bob Henriksen of Landenberg, PA
Project R.A.K.E. Foundation, Inc.
Henriksen leads a team of teenage volunteers who provide free home repair to low income people in southern and southeastern Pennsylvania. He shows the team how to repair roofs, fix plumbing, install ramps and perform any other needed repairs. Not only does this work help people in need, it also teaches young people the value of giving back, and appreciating what they have.

Howard Londner and Walter Demeraski of Fairlawn, NJ
Fair Lawn Borough Fire Co. #3, Inc.
Combined, these two men have served Fair Lawn as volunteer firefighters for more than 50 years. They give their time freely, at all hours of the day, in an effort to keep the community safe.

Tina Malinak of Howell, NJ
Marine Mammal Stranding Center
Malinak helps educate people about marine mammals and sea turtles, in an effort to empower them to help protect the environment.

William Metts of Rutherford, NJ
Northern NJ Council, Boy Scouts of America
Metts is helping the organization find support at a time when resources are dwindling. Thanks in large part to his contributions, the nonprofit is bringing scouting programs to new communities and training additional leaders.

William Quinn of Westwood, NJ
Care Plus NJ, Inc.
A volunteer firefighter, Quinn is an experienced fire safety educator who works with the Bergen County Juvenile Fire Prevention Program. Through this nonprofit organization, he is helping to develop curriculum and teach young people and their families to avoid the dangers of fire.

Donna Vanderhook of Wayne, NJ
Friends of Wayne Animals
Vanderhook works to help homeless animals find permanent, loving homes. As President of the nonprofit, she is involved with fundraising and animal rescue and helps to educate the community about animal cruelty and proper pet care.

“These award winners are proof of the profound difference individuals and organizations can make through volunteerism and a steadfast commitment to helping their fellow citizens and communities,” said Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells. “We all should be inspired by their example, and they have our pledge to continue expanding outlets to assist anyone that desires to give back in any way, shape or form.”

The employees will be formally recognized Wednesday by Secretary Wells, PSEG senior management and their peers and at a celebration at the company’s headquarters. Representatives from the nonprofit organizations supported by the employees will also take part. Photos available upon request.

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) has a long tradition of caring for New Jersey’s people and communities. Each year, the company and its employees invest millions of dollars and thousands of hours to improve the quality of life in New Jersey. The company’s culture dictates that service to customers and community go hand-in-hand.


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