Homes and charitable organizations in Aiken County receive assistance through SRS Days of Caring Program
AIKEN, S.C. – (March 16, 2018) – The ringing of hammers striking nails and the shrill screech of table saws slicing through wooden boards recently filled the air during this year’s Project VISION (Volunteers in Service in Our Neighborhoods) charitable event.
According to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) employee and Project VISION Coordinator Joey Smiley, hundreds of Savannah River Site (SRS) employees volunteer to take a day off every year to work on project teams for United Way agencies and private residences.
“Each year I look forward to working with the team leads to plan the event, and I appreciate the volunteers who give their Friday off to improve the lives of others by building wheelchair ramps, painting and landscaping, among many other labor-intensive projects,” said Smiley.
This year, over 200 volunteers stepped forward to help on 19 project teams. In total, over a thousand man-hours were invested in projects throughout Aiken County for this year’s Project VISION day, part of the “Days of Caring” United Way program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.
Team projects typically include clearing debris, applying paint, repairing flooring, performing minor electrical work, putting up dry wall, constructing fences, building wheel chair ramps, replacing rotting boards, fixing faulty plumbing, caulking and performing yard work.
One project was located at Area Churches Together Serving (ACTS) in Aiken, S.C. According to Karen Perry, Operations Manager of ACTS, the agency partners with their clients, who are at-risk individuals of all ages and backgrounds with an array of difficult situations such as unemployment, abusive relationships, disabilities and substance abuse.
“Project VISION makes such a big difference to us because the volunteers from SRNS can come in and do large projects that we don’t have the knowledge or manpower to do,” said Perry. “They can concentrate on these repairs in one day, whereas we might start a project, but we may have to stop focusing on it because we’re serving our clients.”
The SRNS project team at ACTS was led by Tom Boykin, Director, SRNS Independent Evaluation Board. His crew spent the day rerouting the parking lot, landscaping, and painting. They also placed six heavy deep-freeze coolers on wooden dollies to make the food storage area easier to clean, and the group revamped multiple clothing collection bins to make them more ergonomic and efficient for ACTS volunteers.
“We are the lucky ones,” said Boykin. “We have good jobs, and the community supports us. There are a lot of people out there in need, and they count on others to help them through difficult situations. The various services provided by ACTS and the other United Way agencies make a tremendous impact in our community, and I think it’s important that we provide our support.”
In addition to ACTS, United Way partner agencies receiving assistance this year include: Tri-Development, American Red Cross, Child Advocacy Center of Aiken, Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County, Mental Health America of Aiken County, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Helping Hands, Salvation Army and Girl Scouts of South Carolina.
“Project VISION continues a long tradition of Savannah River Site employees organizing into teams for a day devoted to community service,” said Stuart MacVean, SRNS President and CEO. “Our employees work on a wide variety of projects, and it’s a full day’s worth of work. I’m proud of the values our employees hold and their seemingly endless generosity to give back to our local communities.”
Established in 1996, Project VISION helps United Way of Aiken County partner agencies with facility maintenance. Many of these agencies operate on limited budgets, and contending with day-to-day costs is often difficult.
By 1999, Project VISION had gathered so much support from Savannah River Site (SRS) employees that volunteers outnumbered the agencies needing assistance. As a result, the program expanded to include basic home repairs. These repairs significantly improved the living conditions of disadvantaged children, low-income senior citizens, the disabled and financially-challenged homeowners.
Days of Caring Projects CARE and SERVE will take place on April 27. Project CARE will focus on residents of Barnwell County, while Project SERVE will assist those living in Richmond County.
About Savannah River Nuclear Solutions
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is a Fluor-led company whose members are Fluor Federal Services, Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell, responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Energy’ Savannah River Site, including the Savannah River National Laboratory, located near Aiken, South Carolina.
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