NS Employee Spotlight | Building a Tradition of Volunteering

Nov 22, 2016 6:30 AM ET
Blog

Before joining Norfolk Southern in 1999, Stephen Young had never been involved in community volunteer work. Now, Young, manager intermodal equipment, is a fixture with the Norfolk Thoroughbred Volunteers. He has twice earned Volunteer of the Year award for most volunteer hours and has chaired the group for the past year.

A favorite project of his is the annual Hampton Roads Family VOLUNTEER Day, a half-day food-packing event to assist local charities. Young and his daughter, Amber, have made it a family tradition, participating together for the past 15 years – since Amber, now in college, was five years old.

For the 2015 event, Norfolk Southern employees who work in the 21-story headquarters building collected canned foods by floors as part of a competition Young helped organize. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the father-daughter team joined more than 1,000 local volunteers to pack nonperishable food items for 14 nonprofits ranging from homeless shelters to food banks.

Initially, Young said his motive for getting Amber involved was to help her develop a history of volunteer work for college applications and job resumes. Now, both are hooked on volunteering for its own sake.

“We caught the spirit,” he said. “We love experiencing the benefit of seeing joy on people’s faces.”

Young hopes to make Family VOLUNTEER Day a multigenerational tradition. “The company introduced me to it, I introduced my daughter to it, and I’d like to introduce my grandchildren one day,” he said. “We feel good when we volunteer, and we know we’re lucky to be in a position to be able to do it.”

Learn more about how NS employees give back to their communities here.