Long after they stop working, Tucson Electric Power retirees stay connected to the community through volunteer activities such as supporting foster children, packing food boxes and assisting at community events.
Because of TEP’s culture of community service, many retirees began volunteering while they were employed. After they leave, retirees often continue to help at TEP volunteer events or recruit their former colleagues to support their causes.
The TEP Retirees Club, which meets monthly, raises money a few times a year for charities, including Youth on their Own.
“I still feel like I’m part of the TEP family even though I’m retired,” said Irene Gonzales, a former Business Service Manager who retired in 2014 after 35 years. Her son and nephew also work for TEP.
Gonzales now serves as Treasurer for More Than a Bed, as well as a board member of the Gospel Rescue Mission. More Than a Bed is a nonprofit organization that provides services and donations, such as clothes and bedding, for foster and adoptive families.
Earlier this year, she asked TEP volunteers to help on a major job for More Than a Bed.
The group had received donated fixtures and racks from a Gymboree store that was undergoing renovations. At the time, More Than a Bed didn’t have a place for the fixtures, so they put them in storage.
Soon after, though, an anonymous donor allowed the organization to use a warehouse for a stockroom where families can get free items for their foster and adopted children.
TEP donated the use of four flatbed trucks to haul the fixtures and racks to the warehouse. Volunteers then helped set up the inventory so families can easily pick out donations.
“That was a proud day for me because I was associated with this company and these people who do such hard work,” Gonzales said.
Earlier in November, Irene also recruited TEP volunteers to help with a Parents Night Out for foster parents.
Another retiree who stays active is Harold Hummer, an arborist who retired in 2014. Hummer has remained engaged with TEP’s Community Action Team, which organizes volunteer activities for employees and retirees alike.
Hummer regularly packs food boxes for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona at TEP-organized events. He also gives seminars for the Arizona Community Tree Council, coaches middle school basketball and helps at the Gospel Rescue Mission.
“When TEP calls, I usually help,” Hummer said. “It’s part of TEP’s culture to volunteer, so it’s a lot of fun. I get a lot out of volunteering.
Retiree Jeanne Lumia also continues to collaborate with TEP volunteers following her retirement in 2004 as the Supervisor of Telecommunications.
As a board member of the Vail Preservation Society, Lumia reaches out to TEP for volunteers to assist at Vail Pride Day and A Colossal Fourth, a five-day celebration of Independence Day. TEP volunteers help set up a territorial kitchen and serve as guides for guests during Vail Pride Day.
“We’re always a close group,” Lumia said of her TEP colleagues. “I have warm and fuzzy feelings toward TEP.”