The President's Volunteer Service Award 

One of our key volunteer recognition initiatives is the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA), a prestigious honor awarded annually by the President of the United States in recognition of sustained volunteer service. 

Congratulations to our 2015 President's Volunteer Service Award winners!

Our employees continue to inspire us every day by their selfless acts of community service. Together, we carry on a legacy of giving and service, making a positive impact – one person, one community at a time. 


We also had 77 international employees who volunteered a substantial amount of time in 2015.

Select a location to see recipients:  

Congratulations to our 4,527 employees who received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. They received this prestigious honor from the President of the United States in recognition of sustained volunteer service. 

To earn the national honor, our employees volunteered more than 100 hours during 2015, and in some cases, more than 500 hours – earning them the Gold Award! 

View the full list of this year's winners

4,527 employees and 5.4 million volunteer hours later…

Regardless of how our employees volunteer, they are passionate. Whether mentoring students, cleaning up after disaster strikes, or supporting veterans, we activate our employees on issues they care about — things they are personally driven to do.

Below, we take a look at the passions of our PVSA winners and the path that led them to this national honor. 

Click here to view the national print ad honoring the recipients

Learn more about AT&T's commitment to volunteerism

AT&T Celebrates Our Volunteers

AT&T PVSA Recipient Rita Figueroa

Education and Technology

Our employees mentor students while at work, in the community and online. By using the power of technology, we’re able to reach even more students in more places around the world. These hours help students discover their career passions and potential.


Andy Yantes

Senior-Network Design Engineer

Austintown, OH

In 2015, Andy Yantes spent over 500 hours mentoring students attending middle school and high school in Austintown, Ohio through For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). FIRST, is one of the leading nonprofit youth engagement for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in the country. Andy spent much of his time mentoring 9th to 12th graders to design and build a 120-pound robot that is headed to the national FIRST World Championships. 


Jeffery DeSimone

Principal-Technical Architect

Middletown, NJ

Jeffery DeSimone is the President of the Manchester Township Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization with a long-term mission to improve the quality of educational experiences for all students in his public school district. Jeff and fellow foundation volunteers raised over $30,000 in one golf outing alone, which funded technology grants for specific teachers and technology projects for the entire district. 


Margarita Olivarez

Manager – WFM

Lubbock, Texas

Margarita Olivarez’s daughter is the troop leader of her local Girl Scouts in Lubbock, Texas. Unlike most troops, her troop includes all grades, K–12, which allows the older girls to mentor the younger members. “Girl Scouting is more than just cookies; it’s about building girls of character, confidence and courage,” said Margarita. “I enjoy celebrating our heritage with the girls, volunteering in the community, heading outdoors to sleep in tents and traveling outside of Lubbock.”


Raelanda Robinson

Escalation Manager

Southfield, MI

Raelanda spends the majority of her time volunteering at the Dr. Joseph F. Pollack Academic Center of Excellence. Volunteering has always been a part of her life and at an early age her parents taught her the value and importance of investing in her community. While she spends many hours throughout the year volunteering across the Metro-Detroit area, the majority of her time in 2015 was spent at her children’s school. As Raelanda's favorite proverb says, "Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand."


Learn more about AT&T's commitment to education and technology


The future depends on the well-being of our planet. Our employees dedicate their time to reduce our impact on the environment and help us become more climate resilient.


Bernie Flank

Principal-Technical Architect

Atlanta, GA

Bernie is a volunteer diver for Georgia Aquarium, a leader in nonprofit research, education, and conservation. Last year he made 101 dives at the Aquarium in 12 different environments, including the Ocean Voyager, built by Home Depot, home to four whale sharks, four manta rays, a green sea turtle, and thousands of other marine life. Each morning, Bernie and the volunteer divers scrub algae from rocks, clean the windows, feed fish, and move sand and rocks around to ensure a quality environment.


Michael King

Manager, Construction & Engineering

Nashville, TN

Michael spent more than 500 hours volunteering with Paddle Adventures Unlimited. Because Michael thrives on encouraging others to participate in their communities, volunteering, spending time outdoors, and living an active lifestyle, this cause is perfect for him. The organization hosts thousands of events to bring people together to paddle rivers, lakes and creeks throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. Volunteers help protect the environment, which is a deep, personal cause for everyone involved. 


Michael Swan

Senior Manager EH&S

Paramus, NJ

Michael — a five time PVSA recipient — is passionate about his volunteer work in his community and in the area of environmental sustainability. One of the highlights of his volunteerism is his work in the creation of Earthfest, which has blossomed into a five town festival called “Northern Valley Earth Fair.”  The event brings together nearly 1,000 people to raise awareness of local, regional, and global environmental issues and solutions. 


Sara Barlage

Sr Specialist-Business Management

Alpharetta, GA

Sara has always loved the water, pools, ocean, lakes, you name it – she loves the water. Several years ago she decided to learn to scuba dive and through her love for that, discovered Diveheart. Diveheart provides and supports educational scuba diving programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability, with the hope of providing therapeutic value to the participant.  Since joining Diveheart, she has taken two trips to Cozumel helping disabled divers to enjoy the beautiful underwater world.  


Learn more about AT&T's commitment to the environment


American heroes are all around us. Our employees feel a privilege in honoring those who serve. Read all about the impact of their hours.


Barbara Blair

Strategic Account Lead 3

Atlanta Georgia

Four years ago, Barbara Blair of Atlanta, Georgia started the Pets For Vets (PFV) Georgia Chapter. Barbara and fellow supporters volunteer their time to provide a second chance for shelter pets by rescuing, training and pairing them with veterans who could benefit from having a companion animal. Barbara also organizes the Companion Dog Sponsor program for the chapter, which has raised over $60,000 in the last three years. “All of these are important,” Barbara said, “But presenting a four-legged companion pet with a veteran is the best part of what I get to do!”


Jeffery Cole

Sr Dir, It Billing Transform, DIRECTV

El Segundo, California

Every Thursday, from 6 to 10 pm, Jeffery Cole volunteers at the Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX Center, which is an exclusive welcoming rest area that provides an array of free services to military members and their family members. Besides his weekly shift, Jeff also serves as a spokesperson  representing the USO at many events across Central and Southern California, supporting the USO Show Troupe, and also recently created, installed and managed a new computer system, badge and security camera system for four USO sites.


Ralph “Zoc” Zoccolillo

Telecommunications Specialist (COT)

Brownsburg, Indiana

On June 20, the Indiana Blue Star Salute event celebrated 10 continuous years of support for the families of the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. This yearly free public event was organized by American Legion Post 145 chairman Ralph “Zoc” Zoccolillo. "The 2015 event was the biggest and best by far," Ralph continued , "I was as excited as I was for the first Indiana Blue Star event!" The local event includes numerous booths staffed by military-supporting businesses and organizations, military vehicles and aircraft, and a special tribute to Gold Star families — those whose loved ones paid the ultimate sacrifice. 


Robert J. Cardarelli

Professional-Tech Project Mgmt

Greenville, Texas

Robert Cardarelli first volunteered his time with an Employee Resource Group at AT&T, AT&T Veterans. His volunteer efforts began with being the “boots on the ground.” From working up a sweat at the North Texas Food Bank packaging and sorting food, to slogging in the mud while clearing brush and trees at the Campo Santo Cemetery, Robert held many leadership roles to lead efforts within the group. Robert takes particular pride in the heavy lifting. “That lifting might be in the form of driving to the airport late in the evening to welcome home veterans returning from an Honor Flight,” he said. “Or it might be rising in the wee hours of the morning to aid in setting up a 5K or 10K running event.” 


Learn more about AT&T's commitment to the military

Civic & Community Services

Everyone at AT&T has something to add to their local community. Our employees use their talents and time to support the causes they care about.


John D'Souza

Broadcast System Engineer

El Segundo, CA

John has volunteered with the Dream Street Foundation since 2012. Dream Street provides nationwide camping programs for children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, and it's one of the most special places he’s ever visited. Every July, John travels to Ojai, CA for eight days to volunteer with a group of counselors and over 120 children from hospitals around the nation. Dream Street and volunteers like John go above and beyond to make summer camp happen for each and every one of the kids.


Mark Graham

Principal-Network Planning Engineer

San Ramon, CA

Mark has been a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) for over 11 years. GDB is a nonprofit organization which provides service dogs to visually-impaired and blind individuals. Mark's primary responsibility is the socialization of the puppies from eight weeks to 15 months of age — a critical part in ensuring their success as a working guide. In 2015, Mark and his family began working with their 13th puppy, Edmond, a black Labrador retriever who goes almost everywhere they go — including to work at AT&T!


Christina Arriaga

Senior Sales Support Specialist

Dallas, TX

Christina has been involved in animal rescue with Rockwall Pets since the fall of 2011, and two years ago, she became the executive director. Saving dogs and cats from being euthanized in local shelters is very rewarding for Christina and has become a major focus in her life. In 2015, she helped 1,022 dogs and cats find their way out of the shelter and into homes forever through Rockwall Pets. “The joy that comes after seeing a dog or cat go home with a family that they will love forever makes it all worth it!”


JR Willard

TP&E Edge to Edge Infrastructure Build

Redmond, WA

JR Willard has been a volunteer with Seattle Junior Hockey for 10 years and has been a member of USA Hockey for over 35 years as a coach and a player. In the 2015 season, he coached two teams: the eight and under Mite Eagles as well as the 14 and under Bantam Admirals. As a volunteer coach, he enjoys watching the players improve each year. He especially enjoys watching the kids form lifelong bonds with each other. “Being a part of a team teaches kids that they can be a large, yet unselfish part, of something bigger than themselves.” Hockey has always been a huge part of JR’s life, and he enjoys giving back to a sport that has given him so much. 


Learn more about AT&T's commitment to civic and community services

Gold Award Winners

What does 500+ volunteer hours look like? Meet our employees who received the Gold Award for their incredible service of volunteering more than 500 hours.


Rita Figueroa

Service Manager Customer Relations

Chicago, IL

Rita spent more than 500 hours volunteering in 2015. The majority of those hours were spent at Sam Colonna Boxing where she helped local kids stay off the streets and realize their dreams, and also taught women to feel empowered through boxing. Rita believes “a life saved is the greatest reward a person can receive.”


Tamara Henthorn

Network Force Load Analyst

Dallas, TX

Tamara’s 500+ volunteer hours are spent with Kids Who Care at the July international camp. Her family has opened their home to international students for several years, hosting kids and chaperones from Australia, Italy, Israel, and Albania. Tamara plans activities for the groups to ensure that they have the opportunity to learn about the culture, family life, and Fort Worth heritage. As an exchange student in Denmark as a teenager, Tamara realized the importance of education of various cultures around the world.


DeWanda Ricks

Manager—Customer Service Delivery Center    

Dallas, TX

DeWanda's passion has always been to work with and mentor youth, and she now spends more than 500 hours a year doing so. She attends Potter’s House North Dallas Church where she serves with Firehouse Student Ministry (FHSM) to provide targeted activities that build trust and relationships with kids. Through FHSM, DeWanda and her fellow volunteer leaders encourage personal growth to build self-confidence and facilitate open forums for students to discuss issues they might face in a safe environment. As she says, "the children are our future and we must invest in them."


John Starkweather

Executive Director, Marketing Management

Dallas, TX

John spent more than 500 hours in 2015 mentoring and leading teens in various Scouting programs. John trains boys to become responsible and successful adults so they become leaders. These trainings take place in creative settings, including the outdoors, sporting events, competitions, and challenging activities that demonstrate their ability to do amazing things they never thought possible. The most impactful activity in 2015 included a weeklong bicycling trip with 20 Boy Scouts from Dallas to Shreveport, Louisiana. 


See the names of this year's PVSA winners!

International Employees

Our employees are making a difference around the globe. 77 employees volunteered a substantial number of hours. Read their stories.


Ana Lucia Prieto

Administrative Assistant

Arequipa, Peru

In 2015, Ana devoted more than 100 volunteer hours helping the town of Villa el Tambo. Together with community partners, Prieto and her fellow DIRECTV employees renovated the soccer field, playground, community grandstand and community gardens, helping revitalize the underserved rural community. No matter the challenge, Ana Lucia is enthusiastically willing to take on extra hours and responsibilities to make a difference in her local community.


Lukas Hruby

Tech Specialist, Systems Administration

Czech Republic

For Lukas, volunteering is the ultimate expression of human relationships – no matter what he chooses to do, he always feels a great sense of personal reward knowing that he made a difference in helping our community thrive. In 2015, Lukas and his team spent time landscaping, gardening and cleaning up a local nursing home. By volunteering, Lukas aims to inspire others as well. “By stepping forward – sustainable change happens.“


Gabriel Atehortua

Regional Sales Leader


Gabriel Atehortua has been lending his kindness, openness and perseverance to a wide range of community service efforts over the last year. One of his major projects included helping to build the foundation for the Refugio de Amor retirement home, creating a safe, caring space for Colombia’s elderly. No matter the initiative, Gabriel shows the integrity, patience and leadership that make our projects successful!


Tatiana Garzón

Telephone Sales Executive


In her six years at DIRECTV Ecuador, telephone sales executive Tatiana Garzón hasn’t missed a single volunteer opportunity. She’s devoted countless hours of her time, energy and positivity to the Piedra, Papel, Tijera program, helping to renovate schools, homes and community centers. Recently, she gathered her entire sales team and their families to come together on a weekend to support the Ecuador Animal Protection Foundation.

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