“There’s always something I can do to help somebody else,” Pamela Ponton says. “That’s my motto in life.” Ponton, a Technical Solutions employee, coordinates her office’s support of two annual drives for Carver Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. The 2020 “School Tools” drive was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but she and coworkers were able to support
25 students with their “Carver Angel Tree” drive in December.
Outside of work, Ponton is also active with Do Gooders of Hampton Roads and Pretty In Pink HELP Inc. She plans to retire in 2021 and will devote even more time to all of these causes and more, including the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.
“I want to go rock babies and give the babies attention,” she said. “I had a goddaughter that was a preemie. She was there for four months of her life. While I was visiting her, I used to rock other babies. They need human touch. So that’s one of the things I will be doing a whole lot more of once I retire.”
Jack “Peté” Harrell III
For Jack “Peté” Harrell III, volunteering is a way of life. The 38-year health and safety analyst for Ingalls Shipbuilding said his parents raised him to volunteer. He loves people and enjoys seeing the expressions on faces of those he’s able to help.
Earlier in his career, Harrell served as the Ingalls Employee Assistance Program coordinator, helping find counseling for people dealing with depression, grief or addiction. “I sat in the hospital with many families. I feel that if not for circumstances in my life, I could be the one in need. It made me grateful to help others,” he said.
Harrell also gives his time in his church’s music ministry, United Way and more than a dozen community agencies. He is an advocate for the American Red Cross and has coordinated hundreds of blood drives in and out of the shipyard.
Sara Amman, a HII Corporate employee, helps administer the Holiday Giving Campaign in VASCIC each year, which ensures children and families in need have gifts during the holiday season.
During a normal year, Amman and a core team of volunteers works with the city of Newport News Health and Human Services Department to “adopt” 15 to 20 foster children. “There’s always this great outpouring of support in the office,” she said. “And it helps these foster children realize there are people who care about them.”
This year, for health and safety purposes, the Holiday Giving Campaign needed to pivot, so Amman worked with Health and Human Services to collect funds to purchase $3,550 in gift cards that were distributed to families and will be used for children ages 3 months to 18 years old.
At Newport News Shipbuilding for nine years, Lewis Fisher dedicates much of his time to volunteer work inside the company with employee resource groups and in the greater community.
“I volunteer because of the hope it gives to others. When you volunteer, you do so, not for the attention or the glory, you do it because of the unimaginable opportunity and hope that you give to others,” he said.
Through SEEKnns, Fisher leads the Young Men in Engineering program. He also represents the company as an engineering mentor for a FIRST Robotics team. “I am reminded of a quote from Alan Turing, ‘It is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.’ Therefore, I volunteer through SEEKnns, because it gives me a chance to build future leaders. I am a servant leader, and that is why I love volunteering,” he said.