Hitting Rock Bottom, But Bouncing Back with New Purpose

Citizenship /

AT&T celebrates their dedicated volunteers and the impact they’ve made in communities across the world. Learn more.

By: Keysha Bradley, AT&T Insider

April is National Volunteer Month. That gives us a great reason to celebrate our dedicated volunteers here at AT&T.

For over 135 years, AT&T employees have been making an impact in communities through their service.

Mike Fitzgerald is just one of those AT&T employees. What makes his story exceptional is how far he had to travel to get to where he is today.

"Twenty-eight years ago I hit rock bottom," said Mike, a senior advertising manager. "I was homeless, hopeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol. I burned just about every bridge with my family and friends."

At age 30, Mike lost everything. He was very sick and close to death.

"All of sudden, I had a moment of clarity," Mike said. "I cried out in desperation for God to help me. The next day, I was taken to the hospital and my life was changed forever."

On his road to recovery, Mike realized that various people were being placed in his life for a reason. Their purpose was to help him get his life back on track so he could help others.

"It became clear to me that I was lifted out of my situation for a reason – to serve and help others," he explained. "I'm grateful I got another chance at life. I'm also grateful to all the people who helped me along the way."

Ever since that life-changing day, Mike has been volunteering in communities in the U.S. and abroad. In fact, he logged over 500 hours in AT&T’s Volunteer Portal for his service in 2016.

His true passion is helping children. Through Children of the Nations, Mike travels to a little village in Uganda to help at an orphanage. He assists the children with physical, social and educational needs. He also sponsors 3 of the boys in the village. His sponsorship helps with their healthcare, school, food and clothing.

In addition to his work in Africa, Mike has traveled to Mexico to help build a school at a children's orphanage. And he continues to help recovering addicts.

Whether it's helping at an orphanage as Mike does or volunteering at a food bank or school, our employees continue to make a positive impact.

"Our employees are passionate about volunteering in their community," said Allison Hannel, director – Citizenship & Sustainability. "When we combine our time, talents and giving, we have the power to make a big impact."

And each year, thousands of employees earn the President's Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). To earn this honor, employees gave over 100 hours of their time to help others in 2016. Many employees volunteered more than 500 hours to receive the Gold PVSA Award.

Congratulations to our 4,288 PVSA recipients and our international employees who logged over 100 hours of service. Check out the list of employees who received this award.

Mike helped build an orphanage in Mexico.