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TVA Employees Provide Christmas Gifts for Children in Tennessee and Iraq

KNOXVILLE -- From winter coats for kids in Kentucky to soccer balls for children in Iraq, Tennessee Valley Authority employees are providing food, gifts and goodwill to children and families in need this holiday season.

The contributions are from TVA's fossil, nuclear and hydro power plants, Environment and Technology, Power System Operations, River Operations and other groups and organizations within TVA.

Allen Fossil Plant staff provided Christmas gifts for a family recommended by Carnes Elementary in Memphis, one of the TVA Partners in Education schools. Bull Run Fossil Plant staff delivered presents to 45 children and supplied food baskets during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Shawnee Fossil Plant's Community Relations Committee collected winter coats for families in Paducah, Ky.

Paradise Fossil Plant employees provided household items, food baskets, toys and clothes for underprivileged children from 30 local families selected through school human services resources. Employee donations raised about $500 for each family. Kingston Fossil Plant employees provided gifts through the Star Tree program to 35 students at Midway and Oliver Springs elementary schools; prepared 10 food baskets for Dyllis Elementary School students in need, and supplied 35 gifts to area nursing home residents.

For the 16th year, TVA's Nuclear Power Group provided Christmas gifts at the Children's Home at Chambliss Shelter in Chattanooga. About 35 pre-kindergarten children joined TVA employees to have pictures taken with Santa Claus, decorate an Angel tree and receive toys, games and classrooms items.

"About 30 employees participated in the tree decorating, but we had more than 100 employees provide gifts for children," said Linda Tonya, Partners in Education coordinator for TVA's Nuclear Power Group.

Employees at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant gave toys, clothing, bikes and other items to 172 children in Colbert, Lauderdale, Limestone and Morgan counties in Alabama through an "Adopt-a-Star" campaign. Employees also provided food baskets for about 75 families.

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant staff provided toys and pictures with Frosty the Snowman for 129 children at the Soddy Daisy Head Start and raised $50,000 for gifts for 110 local families.

The Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Employees Christmas Fund raised about $18,000 for clothing, toys and food baskets for 31 families with 66 children in Jackson County.

TVA's Knoxville River Operations sponsored an Angel Tree, providing 150 Christmas gifts for area children through multiple Knoxville charitable agencies. River Operations employees also supported Knoxville's Ronald McDonald House, which provides a safe, cheerful place for families of seriously ill children being treated at nearby hospitals. Staff donated 30 cases of bottled water, 100 boxes of snacks, 17 pounds of coffee and toiletries such as soap and shampoo.

The Land and Shoreline Management Group in TVA's Environment and Technology Division provided toys, food and other holiday gifts for children through the Johnson City (Tenn.) Early Learning Center and the Washington County (Tenn.) Department of Children's Services, and also provided gifts for families in Loudon County, Tenn., and Colbert County, Ala.

Power System Operations staff in TVA's Mississippi District collected more than $300 to provide coats, games and other specific items for children through the local Salvation Army.

TVA Human Resources groups supported the Candlelighters, a nonprofit organization that helps children with serious illnesses, by buying gifts for a family who has a child with cancer. Human Resources employees also filled about 30 Christmas stockings with snacks and gifts for soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Employees from several TVA offices and work groups across the Tennessee Valley collected 55 soccer balls for troops serving in Iraq to distribute to children. Mark Findlay, general manager of Nuclear Security Operations, led the drive. He was inspired by his son, Mike, who served in the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division in Iraq and often saw children playing in rubble, kicking balls made of rags or an empty coffee can to simulate a soccer ball.

"Mike said that when he and his escorts first entered a village the tension was pretty high. But when he took out the soccer ball, he was swarmed by children," Findlay said. "If a simple soccer ball can reduce the tension and keep Mike and his men safer, then it's a pretty good investment." Mike Findlay returned home Dec. 19, to Chattanooga for the holidays.

Published December 22, 2011, 2:46 p.m.

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