MARSEILLES — Exelon Corporation has recognized employee Thomas Parcher of Streator, Ill., with a merit award for his volunteer service with Streator Township High School FFA.
Parcher, a security lead at Exelon Generation’s La Salle County Generating Station in Marseilles, created a family project called “Hogs Fighting Hunger” in 2011.
Since then, the program has grown into a self-sufficient educational initiative for Streator FFA and a valuable food source for local food pantries.
“Tom Parcher has been a great asset as a parent, alumni member, and friend of the FFA,” said Nicholas Shaner, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. “Tom’s farm is where Hogs for Hunger began. It originally started with his kids raising a few pigs, and now it has expanded into a program teaching the basics of agriculture to our local students.”
Last year, under Parcher’s guidance, FFA students raised 20 hogs for distribution to local food pantries. Each hog can provide up to 100 pounds of usable ground pork and much-needed protein for local families who rely on the food pantries. Without the donated pork, many families would not be able to afford purchasing it elsewhere.
Drawing on his own experience as a farmer, Parcher showed the students how to expand the hogs’ living area, build pens, purchase and use feed, and install water troughs.
Streator high school students visited the Parcher farm almost daily over a period of six months to monitor the progress of the hogs.
Parcher’s goal in supervising the project is to prepare the next generation of farmers in Streator.
“I’ve always believed hands-on projects were the best way for students to learn,” said Parcher. “When we first started this program, our goals were to give real life teaching experiences to local students and prepare them for a future in agriculture, and more importantly, to provide much-needed meat for the local food pantries.”
Pete Karaba, La Salle County Generating Station site vice president, credits Parcher for his time and hard work towards Hogs Fighting Hunger.
“It is humbling to watch someone like Tom Parcher dedicate himself to his community and to the growth and development of students who have an interest in farming,” said Karaba. “We are fortunate there are people like Tom in this community.”
Cindy Wilson, security manager at La Salle Station and Tom Parcher’s direct supervisor, was with Parcher when he was presented his award in Chicago on Monday, April 29.
“Tom is a hard worker. I am proud of his accomplishments in the community,” said Wilson. “It is obvious how much the students from the Streator FFA look up to Tom and benefit from the life skills he has taught them through farming.”
Exelon introduced the Energy for the Community Volunteer Awards in 2007 to honor employees who demonstrate exceptional commitment to community service and to encourage increased volunteerism. Parcher is one of 18 employees to receive volunteer awards and grants to the nonprofit organizations they serve.
Exelon donated a total of $140,000 in cash grants to those nonprofits this year. A $5,000 cast grant will be donated to FFA in Parcher’s honor.
Exelon’s Energy for the Community Volunteer Awards were open to all eligible employees from the Exelon family of companies who volunteered at least 50 hours of community service in 2012.
Last year, more than 3,800 Exelon employee volunteers gave nearly 105,000 hours of their time to community nonprofit organizations.
The donated hours are equivalent to 2,625 workweeks or nearly 50 years of full-time service.
The awards highlight Exelon’s Energy for the Community corporate citizenship program, which encourages volunteerism to support environmental stewardship; education, arts and culture; neighborhood enhancement; and diversity in the community.
Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) is the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with 2012 revenues of approximately $23.5 billion.
Headquartered in Chi-cago, Exelon has operations and business activities in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with approximately 35,000 megawatts of owned capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets.
The company’s Constella-tion business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 100,000 business and public sector customers and approximately 1 million residential customers. Exelon’s utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to more than 6.6 million customers in central Maryland (BGE), northern Illinois (ComEd) and southeastern Pennsylvania (PECO).