Chevron Canada Retirees Honored for Their Community Service

Harold Freund, president of the Canadian Prairie Chapter of the Chevron Retirees Association (left), accepts the 2016 Chevron Public Service Award from Chevron Corporation Chairman and CEO John Watson.

Chevron Canada retiree Bruce Fraser has been a lifelong volunteer, and like many of his former colleagues, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Somebody has to do it,” enthuses Fraser when asked why he continues to volunteer year after year.  “It’s something you get used to doing and you get a certain amount of satisfaction in doing it. I can’t imagine what else I would do if I wasn’t involved in this kind of thing.”

Fraser, who retired from Chevron in 1992 following a 38-year career with the company, is an active member of the Chevron Retirees in Action (CRIA), a group of dedicated volunteers within the Canadian Prairie Chapter of the Chevron Retirees Association.

CRIA has approximately 50 members who volunteer in the Calgary area. They prepare hampers at the Calgary Inter-faith Food Bank, grow vegetables in a market garden for families in need, care for the elderly in seniors’ homes, and remove litter from area highways. In total, they donate about 2,000 hours of their time each year to worthwhile community projects.

Public Service Award

The Canadian Prairie Chapter of the Chevron Retirees Association is among 70 chapters in North America comprising over 10,000 Chevron and Unocal (a Chevron predecessor company) retirees. Each year Chevron Corporation presents an award to the chapter that is judged to have contributed the most to the welfare of its community.

Chevron Corporation Chairman and CEO John Watson honored the Canadian Prairie Chapter with the 2016 Chevron Public Service Award at a ceremony in Philadelphia in May. Harold Freund, president of the Canadian Prairie Chapter, accepted the award on behalf of the 300 members.

The award was accompanied by a cheque for $5,000 U.S., which was later passed on to the Calgary Inter-faith Food Bank Society. This important charity is also the beneficiary of money donated by chapter members at some of their social events, such as the popular Christmas lunch, where $8,500 was collected  and which Chevron Canada then matched.

“All of the CRIA members at one time held responsible jobs within the company during their working lives, and when asked to do something they do it well, with a dedication that is ingrained,” said Freund.

Committed Volunteers

Indeed, Chevron Canada’s retirees all share a common bond of wanting to give back to the community, to make a difference.

John Abramchuk, who retired from the company in 1998 following a 25-year career in a variety of accounting roles, has been volunteering at the food bank one afternoon a month for the past five years, where he sorts foods, packs hampers and does a lot of heavy lifting.

“The time flies because it’s pretty steady work,” he says. “It was something that I always wanted to do, but when you are working you just don’t have the time to do that type of stuff.”

Why does he continue to volunteer? “I feel good because I have contributed something to the community. That’s what volunteering is all about.”

For the past 15 years, Carla Freund has organized the monthly “Chevron Tea” at the George Boyack nursing home in Calgary, attended by about 70 residents. She and a group of about eight Chevron volunteers bring pastries and “dainties” for the residents, who Freund says have become a second family to her.

“It’s very important for us to talk and spend some time with them. A lot of them don’t have any family in Calgary. We give them hugs and candy and we play music of their era, and they really quite enjoy that,” explains Freund, a former school teacher and spouse of Chevron retiree Harold Freund.

“It’s important for them to see us and we get a great deal of joy from them. We really love these people. You become so attached to them you don’t want to leave them.”