Key Bank employees help make a difference

Even though the sun was glaring and the temperature was in the 80s, employees from KeyBank in Dunkirk took the heat and did outdoor garden work at the WCA home in Fredonia.

Six employees from the Dunkirk branch left the bank at noon, changed into work clothes and arrived at their destination in order to begin their volunteer assignment. Shawna Buchanan, Amanda Drummond, Pattie Halas, Kathy McCarthy, Magaly Myers and Brittany Peterson, sporting red T-shirts and big smiles, participated in KeyBank’s “Neighbors Make a Difference Day.”

The willing workers raked the yard covered with dogwood petals, weeded, trimmed, and spread mulch in the flower beds.

According to Halas, the branch manager for the past 25 years, “This is our way of giving back to the community. Getting out in the community is important.”

She explained the volunteer effort has been going on for 23 years. KeyBank closes it doors at noon one day yearly so its employees can participate if they choose.

Each year, different organizations benefit from the efforts. Some of the organizations that helped in the past include the Dunkirk Free Library, the Circle of Love, and Rural Ministry.

WCA administrator Tammy Skelly told the volunteers they were welcome to come inside for water or lemonade. She was very pleased the bank chose her site.

“The world is a better place because of volunteers,” she said. “We are a non-profit organization and really appreciate the support from this group, as well as others in the community.”

In Westfield, Andrea Yokom, Linda Utegg, Crystal Schrantz and Andrea Babcock spent the afternoon playing Bingo with the residents of Absolut of Westfield. Residents enjoyed interacting with the group, which also wore red shirts and smiles.

Schrantz paired up with Mike Baumgrotz, while Elaine Williams at the same table played multiple Bingo cards with an amazing amount of energy. May Thorn enjoyed Utegg’s company. Babcock turned her attention to Rosalee York, while Yokom and Lucille Delcamp concentrated on the numbers.

Yokom, the Westfield branch manager, said her branch has done different projects in the last 10 years during which she has been involved.

“We ask organizations within the community what they need. In the past we have done things such as planting in the village itself … We enjoy coming down here and today, we are glad to be inside where it is cooler,” she said.

According to information supplied by the business, over 7,500 employees nationwide, more than half of its workforce, took part in the effort on May 22. About 350 KeyBank employees worked on Community Projects across Western New York. In Chautauqua County, WCA in Fredonia, Absolut Care of Westfield, Community Helping Hands and the Salvation Army of Jamestown benefited from the employees’ efforts.

Over the past 22 years, Key employees have contributed more than a half million volunteer hours through Neighbor’s Day.

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