Meet the finalists for UPS’s highest community service award

Service is in our employees’ DNA
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The Jim Casey Community Service Award celebrates the UPS spirit and legacy of volunteerism and the outstanding community service of our people. Each year, The UPS Foundation invites employees to nominate partners for the award and all 15 finalists each receive $5,000 grants for the nonprofits they serve.

These amazing UPSers lead with their head, heart and hands, inspiring all of us to be an important part of something bigger.

Get to know our 2023 finalists’ incredible and heartwarming stories: Stay tuned each week as we share stories of inspirational UPSers and their impact in their communities. Let the countdown begin!

Troi Grimes, security supervisor in Georgia, USA

Organization: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Heart of Georgia

A commitment to service: As a U.S. veteran, Troi has always been committed to serving others. While in the Middle East, he worked with refugees through various international organizations. When he returned home, Troi began volunteering with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Heart of Georgia, a nonprofit with the mission to support youth through mentorship. Today, he serves on the board of directors and says one of the most satisfying aspects of his work is seeing a child thrive after working with a mentor.

“Volunteerism is a commitment and a form of accountability. As a veteran who has battled PTSD, serving others has helped me be present at times when I otherwise would have isolated myself,” said Troi.

Anthony Curtis, part-time supervisor in Washington, USA

Organization: Black Equality Coalition

A commitment to service: Throughout his life, Anthony has advocated for equal access to healthcare, job opportunities and education for Black and African American families. In 2020, he founded the Black Equality Coalition — a nonprofit with a mission to raise awareness of systematic injustices and uplift Black and African American communities. Today, the organization focuses on providing education, networking opportunities and community events.

“The desire to help underserved people is an investment to my community … which is well worth the effort,” said Anthony.

Terrance Berry, feeder on-road supervisor in Georgia, USA

Organization: Focus 21 Foundation

A commitment to service: At a young age, Terrance became passionate about combatting childhood obesity. To that end, he founded the Focus 21 Foundation to empower the youth and improve their health and wellness. Terrance teaches fitness classes and educates families to incorporate healthy meals and fitness into their schedules.

“Focus 21 also hosts year-round community events along with food and clothing drives to support families who lack access to necessary resources. To date, we’ve supported 80 families through these events,” said Terrance.

Cecil Bridgewater, GBS operations manager in California, USA

Organization: American Cancer Society

A commitment to service: In 2003, Cecil began volunteering with the American Cancer Society. This year, he’s responsible for leading awareness campaigns by creating social media content for the American Cancer Society YouTube pagespotlighting survivors and caregivers.​ He’s also volunteered with Relay for Life Southern Nevada over the years, hosting their annual event that raises tens of thousands of dollars locally. Cecil has felt the impact of cancer in the lives of family members, friends and co-workers and takes pride in telling their inspirational stories.

“My life has been enriched by knowing that I’m making an impact in the fight against cancer … and representing those who no longer have a voice,” said Cecil.

Gina Moreno, brokerage administrator in New Brunswick, Canada

Organization: The Filipino-Canadian CommUNITY of New Brunswick

A commitment to service: In 2003, Gina and her husband founded The Filipino-Canadian CommUNITY of New Brunswick, a support system for Filipinos residing in New Brunswick and those considering moving there. A large part of their work is advocating for newcomers’ rights, including soliciting the government to recognize the needs of temporary foreign workers. Gina’s work has even been recognized by the Prime Minister of Canada as being essential in encouraging newcomers to remain in the province.

“As an immigrant, I understand the importance of finding community after the challenges of leaving the familiar behind,” said Gina. My husband and I started this group to help people. I’m forever grateful for the lives that we have touched and more importantly, how their lives have helped shape me.”

Barbara DeStafeno​, senior project coordination analyst in New York, USA

Organization: Junior League of Orange County New York

A commitment to service: Barbara finds purpose in giving back to her community Junior League, an organization that advances women’s leadership skills. Since 2012, Barbara has led human trafficking prevention campaigns which have provided basic hygiene and clothing items for victims of sexual assault and those in danger of being trafficked. Seeing the impact of those she mentors gives her a sense of accomplishment, pride, and confidence.​

“When I began volunteering, my intention was to assist people in need. As I participated in community service events, I realized that I was also gaining so much,” said Barbara.

Oliver Jones​, hub training manager in California, USA

Organization: San Diego Urban League

A commitment to service: Oliver grew up in San Diego and went to school in an underserved community where access to financial education was limited. He joined the San Diego Urban League whose mission is to build partnerships with schools and corporations to help communities achieve social and economic equity. Oliver also advocates for UPS to be an employer of choice for students.

There were many paths I could’ve chosen based on the environment I grew up in. I learned that being kind and having the spirit to want to help others created a sense of comfort, accomplishment, and happiness. My life has never been better,” said Oliver.

Eddie Martinez​, finance planning manager in California, USA

Organization: Challenged Athletes Foundation

A commitment to service: Eddie’s daughter was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) in 2015 – a degenerative nerve disease with no current cure. Since then, volunteerism has become a big part of his life, allowing him to help his family and others. Eddie works with organizations that raise awareness of CMT and funds for the development of new drug treatments. He also works closely with the Challenged Athletes Foundation, supporting Americans nationwide to pursue active lifestyles which is the best way to counter the disease’s progress.

“Volunteerism is not expecting anything in return … because you get a lot back. It fulfills your soul,” said Eddie.  

Hang Nguyen Thi Thuy​, brokerage supervisor in Hanoi, Vietnam

​Organization: Sách cho em - Books for Kids

A commitment to service: Children in rural areas of Vietnam often fall behind in their education due to a lack of resources. Ten years ago, Hang recognized this need and set out on a mission to provide equitable opportunities for all children regardless of their geographic location. She founded Books for Kids, a nonprofit that gives books, school supplies and essential items to children in need. In 2016, the organization began building classrooms with access to internet and computers.​ As of 2022, they have built 20 classrooms and donated 253 computers to 17 schools in rural Vietnam.

“Volunteering makes my life more meaningful … and it’s a blessing to be able to help so many people. I know the children we help are the future of this country,”​ said Hang. 

William Vaughan, first officer for UPS Airlines in Kentucky, USA  

Organization: Operation BackPack4kids

A commitment to service: William began a trusted nonprofit for children in need following humanitarian crisis. As founder and executive director of BackPack4Kids, William’s mission is to provide displaced children with essential items such as a blankets, hygiene kits, food, clothing, toys and more.  

“Operation Backpack4kids has allowed me to use my education and life skills to create something amazing. It has given me something to be proud of and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity we have been given to change lives,” ​said William.  

Jill Walls, regional operations manager in South Carolina, USA

Organization: Thornwell Children’s Home

A commitment to service: Jill Walls was introduced to philanthropy at nine years old when she moved into Thornwell Children’s Home. She came to understand that her clothes, food and school supplies were all gifts funded by organizations, churches and kind people who cared enough to help. Thornwell Children’s Home gives children in need a home and access to recovery services. Jill’s mission is to empower children to break the cycle of abuse – creating happier and healthier communities. 

“Volunteerism changed my world view. It helped me see the world in a way that reminds me of the greater good we are called to do with no personal benefit,”​ said Jill.  

Oscar Sotomayor​, retired inventory control associate in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Organization: Argentine Association of Adapted Tennis​

A commitment to service: Paralyzed in both legs from the age of one, Oscar was determined to focus on what he can do and became a star athlete. He has represented his country at some of the world’s biggest adaptive tennis tournaments, including the World Cup, U.S. Open and the French Open. His mission is to make sure the next generation has equal access to sports. He’s the founder of the Argentine Association of Adapted Tennis, a nonprofit that helps children with disabilities develop their strength through tennis.

“UPS has given me the opportunity to live proudly as my authentic self … focusing on abilities instead of disabilities helps people grow and thrive at work and in life,”​ said Oscar. 

Steve Palm​, delivery driver in Massachusetts, USA

Organization: The Kacie Project

A commitment to service: UPS driver Steve Palm’s world was forever changed on July 17, 2014, when his daughter Kacie died by suicide at the age of 14. Years later, he founded a nonprofit, The Kacie Project, with the goal to reduce suicide rates and support survivors through prevention training.

“This nonprofit started out with a lot of support from my coworkers who asked if they could donate to my project. I could not be prouder to work at a place that’s so committed to helping those around them,” said Steve. 

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