News • November 10, 2022
Honoring Veterans: Employees Serve at The Wall That Heals
Earlier this year, Marcellus Land Analyst III Betty Jo Morris learned that The Wall That Heals, a mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, was coming to Sayre, Pennsylvania. Morris wanted to support the memorial in any way she could, recognizing this as an opportunity to show support for those who served and welcome The Wall to her hometown. She knew the Chesapeake team, particularly our employees who are also veterans, would also like to be involved. After speaking with the organization, she learned that what the traveling exhibit needed most was volunteers.
“I told them that Chesapeake has the best employees, and that they would very much want to participate and honor veterans in this way,” said Morris.
She was right. After sending out a save-the-date to the Chesapeake team, the response was immediate and overwhelming. “I received responses back stating, ‘It would be an honor to have the opportunity to volunteer in any capacity for this event’ and ‘As a son of a Vietnam vet, I would especially like to volunteer for this,’” Betty Jo relayed. More than 40 employees volunteered more than 200 hours during the event that spanned October 5 – 9.
When the exhibit came to town, 21 employees — including 12 veterans and Business Unit VP Dan Lopata — helped with wall set up, following a precise procedure. Desert Storm veteran and Production Technician II Randy Ferris explained that each panel is carried in a specific manner to honor the fallen soldiers represented on the panels. Ferris, whose uncle served in Vietnam and is someone he’s always looked up to, proudly carried panels bearing the names of both a family member and family friend — an experience he was deeply honored to do. As he said, “each name on the wall has a story.”
Other volunteers helped with security during night shifts, transported visitors on golf carts and worked at the mobile Education Center. No matter the volunteer assignment, employees found the experience “meaningful, moving and emotional,” described Morris.
Ferris, who joined Chesapeake with the Chief acquisition, was impressed by how seriously his fellow team members took the event. He noted it was a solidifying experience for him at Chesapeake.
“No one made the Chesapeake employees volunteer, and it wasn’t a public relations stunt. Every employee wanted to be there and was genuinely moved by the experience,” Ferris said. “I’ve worked with some of these guys for a few months, but learned they were veterans at this event. I now feel a special connection with them at work, and it’s opened up a new path.”
Lease Operator II Chad Garrison, a U.S. Army retiree who served for more than 21 years, said his volunteer experience was both an honor and a privilege.
“The Wall is a breathtaking symbol of the vast sacrifice the Vietnam veteran generation made,” Garrison said. “What I found most striking was the seemingly endless rows of names. Until you see all 58,281 carved into stone, it’s difficult to grasp the magnitude. I hope we honored each of those individuals with this experience.”