For several years Charlie Neill has coordinated repairs and cleanup work at Mental Health America’s Nurture Home through United Way of Aiken County’s Project Vision.
Staffers from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Savannah River Remediation and Savannah River Nuclear Laboratory volunteer to work at 20 nonprofit sites.
Neill’s group of mostly SRNL employees enjoyed the opportunity again Friday.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I don’t have to do a lot of work. I just buy the supplies and get good guys to do it all.”
“He’s just being modest,” said David Hoel, a retired Department of Energy staff member. “I paired up with them years ago. Charlie is a great team leader, and all of us like coming to Nurture Home.”
The facility provides a safe haven for young, single women and mothers. Some may be victims of domestic violence. A fifth young woman recently arrived, and the home has now reached capacity, Neill said. His crew is adding three cabinets to provide each woman space for kitchen supply items.
A second SRNL team ended up next door at the Community Medical Clinic, replacing a fence that had been damaged by a fallen tree.
Leader Hogan Kane was pleased with the unexpected project and getting the chance to talk with director Mallory Holley. She explained about serving low-income people who have chronic health issues and have no insurance.
“She also talked about all the medical volunteers,” Kane said. “We’re happy to pitch in, too.”
Project Vision celebrated another wonderful year, said Carla Delaney, the United Way coordinator.
“We had 20 sites, three of them homes and a total of 225 volunteers from the Savannah River Site,” she said. “The level of skill and the compassion is just phenomenal, and it really rejuvenates those with the agencies.”
As always, a large group from SRNS came to the children’s residential shelter Helping Hands on Friday morning.
“It really makes a big difference to catch up on a lot of things for us,” said Carmen Landy, Helping Hands executive director. “They’re painting, landscaping and working on bathroom cabinets and doing pressure-washing. It’s always an opportunity to see the same folks come back every year. ... It makes us feel good that they’re recognizing our efforts by coming here to volunteer.”
That’s a big part of Project Vision, Delaney said.
Each year, new volunteers learn about the services provided by the agencies they assist. That was meaningful for SRNS staffer Freddie Hartzog, who drives from Barnwell each year for Project Vision.
“I started coming about four years ago and fell in love with Helping Hands,” he said. “I just like what it does for the kids.”
Other agencies that benefit from Project Vision include Area Churches Together Serving, the American Red Cross, the Child Advocacy Center, Children’s Place, the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, the Girl Scouts of South Carolina, Golden Harvest, Primetime Family Y, the Aiken County Salvation Army and four Tri-Development sites.