Pens, pencils, paper, backpacks as well as cash collected for kids
By Vern Hee
Valley Electric Association employees and volunteers pulled together to make the 13th Annual Fill the Bucket school supply drive a huge success.
Employees and volunteers worked until 11 a.m., Saturday, August 3, at three locations in Pahrump – Walmart, Smith’s and Albertsons collecting supplies for school children in VEA districts.
The 2019 drive was shortened by several hours to keep from interfering with the celebration of life of former Nye County Sheriff Anthony “Tony” DeMeo, which was the same day.
Many of the VEA employees helped out.
Butch Davies, a VEA lineman, is a regular volunteer. “I think I have been to almost all of them,” he said. “I am here for the community and the children. It just seems tough for people to get supplies, and the children need this stuff. For all of us out here working it’s something that is in our hearts to be helpful to the community.”
Another veteran of the school drive, VEA lineman Tony Cipollini, sees his volunteer service as a duty to his community. “It’s just our yearly thing to help out the students who can’t get the paper, pencils, and backpacks they need,” he said. “This helps out the students, the school district, and when you help out the kids that are up-and-coming, you are helping out the whole community.”
Michelle Caird, VEA District 1 Board member, couldn’t contain her enthusiasm.
“It’s been really exciting, and it’s fun to see the community participate in this project that helps benefit all our children,” she said. “We are not just collecting for here, but for the whole service area. I have never worked one, and this is the first time working with the employees, the teachers, and the community.
They are all great to work with.”
John Pawlak, who serves on the VEA Member Liaison Committee, is retired and said the event is one of his favorites. “My commitment to the community brings me out here,” Pawlak said. “I have been doing this for … years and giving back to the community is something I learned from my days in Chicago.
Nye County Superintendent Dale Norton was grateful for all the support of the kids and thanked VEA for their support. “It’s cool out this morning, we got people driving up and dropping off stuff,” Norton said. “It’s been great. It makes sure that every kid starts with the supplies needed. It’s exactly what this is for and we appreciate Valley Electric for their support.”
Besides the shorter hours, organizers changed things up a bit this year in order to assure that more of the most-needed supplies will be distributed to schools. Approximately $6,000 in cash was collected this year, far more than in previous years. In past years, organizers immediately purchased supplies that day with the cash that was collected, said Beth Lee, Key Accounts Coordinator and organizer of the 2019 Fill the Bucket event.
“This year we held on to the money until school districts see where the shortfalls are,” said Lee. “We will then then use the cash to purchase those items. We will also see what Trojan’s Trunk needs and the teachers need to get them through the year.”
Fourteen buckets of supplies also were collected. (The average bucket contains about 23 cubic feet of supplies. A bucket truck is a common utility vehicle equipped with an extendable hydraulic boom that carries a large bucket for raising workers to elevated, inaccessible areas, like power poles.)
Interim VEA CEO Richard Peck praised Valley Electric Employees and all the volunteers for their dedication and hard work. “I am proud of all our motivated employees and volunteers that came out and worked so hard to help the community,” Peck said.
The supplies were sorted and distributed to area schools by August 8.