NORFOLK, Va. (June 6, 2014) — Elsie Harris may design electrical systems for Dominion Virginia Power, but volunteering is her way of life. She was named a Dominion Volunteer of the Year for the second time this year, and both times she selected St. Mary’s Home as her charity of choice to receive $1,000 from the energy company.
“I got so attached,” Harris, of Virginia Beach, said during a recent visit to St. Mary’s. “I do a lot of volunteering at different places, but this is really where my heart is.”
Harris passed down her passion for helping others to her granddaughter, Paige Beavers. Also an avid volunteer, Beavers works at St. Mary’s as a licensed practical nurse, taking care of children and young adults with severe disabilities.
“She was so happy when I started working here,” Beavers said of her grandmother. And Beavers was happy, too.“I love the kids. They’re so joyful. You can never have a bad day here, no matter how you come in feeling.”
Harris, a customer projects designer at Dominion, also was named a Volunteer of the Year in 2001. Dominion recognized her for her community service, such as donating and collecting school supplies and clothing, visiting nursing home residents and planning a major landscaping project at a local school. Harris also is a youth mentor who has opened her doors to many homeless or abused young people.
During a recent visit to St. Mary’s, Harris and Beavers spent some time with two-year-old Payten, who was all smiles when they walked in to the Infant and Toddler Program classroom. Harris also read a book to 16-year-old Nate, one of the young adults under Beavers’ care.
That afternoon, Martha Price Stewart, St. Mary’s director of development, surprised Harris with a vase full of flowers to thank Harris and Dominion for their support. “I knew there was love here,” Harris said.
About St. Mary’s Home
St. Mary’s Home in Norfolk, Va., provides quality, specialized care within a homelike environment for Virginia children and adults with severe disabilities, so each person can achieve his or her fullest potential. Children and young adults who have severe intellectual and physical disabilities live, play, go to school and receive comprehensive long- and short-term care at the private, nonprofit St. Mary’s Home.
The Albero House at St. Mary’s opened in 2013 to provide care for adults over 21. With St. Mary’s expanding to embrace adult care, the organization’s name has been shortened from St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children to St. Mary’s Home.
Dominion, based in Richmond, Va., is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy. The Dominion Foundation is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic wellbeing of the communities served by Dominion companies. Dominion and the Foundation support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education and encourage community vitality.
Click here to download this news release.