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National Volunteer Week: Ocean Team Members Impacting the Community

Published: April 2022

Ocean is proud to celebrate National Volunteer week as we recognize our amazing team members impacting the local Atlantic City community, as well as organizations close to their hearts through their volunteer efforts. Our team members are committed to volunteer service and building stronger communities.  We are inspired by the power of their volunteer service and the organizations and causes they support.  In appreciation of our team members and the outstanding work these organizations do, Ocean Casino Resort is pleased to provide support, food, basketballs, baseball bats and gloves, lunch, clothing and other special treats.  Thank you to all our inspirational team members!

 

Steve Ebner, Vice President of Player Development

Organization:  South Jersey Field of Dreams

At Field of Dreams, I participate in the great American past time, baseball, with groups of incredibly special athletes.  South Jersey Field of Dreams is a place where physically and mentally disabled children and young adults have the opportunity to be on a team with their friends, play a game of baseball and most importantly, have fun.  During the game, I assist the athletes with fielding, hitting balls, base running, providing encouragement and lots of high-fives!  It is important for me to volunteer with the Ocean team because it allows us to come together and connect with our community to make it a better place.  Volunteering benefits everyone and as a team, we can all make a difference.  It truly is a great day any time I’m at Field of Dreams.

 

Jason Rouse, Casino Maintenance Mechanic

Organization:  Bargaintown Volunteer Fire Company

For the past 16 years, I have been captain to 35 firefighters with the Bargaintown Fire Company.  Being in a volunteer fire company is like having another family.   We train together every Monday evening, which I facilitate by setting up drills and other training exercises for the company.  When an alarm goes off, I know I’ll be there with this extraordinary group of men and women that I have learned so much about – from their family, religion, hobbies, etc. – and whom I have trained and watched grow in their roles and accomplishments.  Together, we are there to protect life and property for the citizens living in Egg Harbor Township.  Once a house fire has been extinguished, my crew and I go into the house and salvage pictures and memorabilia for the family afflicted by this tragic event.  This fire company has become my family and I continue to volunteer there for the love and passion I have for firefighting and my fire company.

Brian Brennan, Public Relations Manager

Organization:  Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia

The mission of Magee Rehabilitation is to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by providing high-quality physical and cognitive rehabilitation services—including, but not limited to spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes and amputations.  At 15 years old, I suffered a spinal cord injury and my time at Magee was extremely positive.  When I was an inpatient, I had a really amazing mentor, (Bobby Jo) who was so supportive and showed me that there was a future for me outside of the facility.  Today, I am a certified Peer Mentor for Magee, providing support to patients and families who are living with a life-changing disability, just as Bobby Jo did for me.  I’m hopeful that sharing the experiences—both positive and negative—that I have gone through relative to my injury can help someone who is navigating their recovery.  While every person is different, the program does an excellent job of learning about the inpatients and pairing them with a mentor who they feel can relate to what they are going through.  I have spoken to a variety of ages and injury levels; however, I always try to build a connection by understanding and empathizing with what they are going through.  Most patients have not spoken with someone who has had (in my case) a spinal cord injury, so my ultimate goal in being a mentor is to listen and make the person feel like they’re not alone in their situation.

 

Jacqui Wright, Ralph Germanio, Nicole Prettyman, Nora Anderson, Facilities Upholstery Team

As a whole, we believe that we have a personal connection with the organizations and causes we support, including the ELKS of Galloway #2845, Arc of Atlantic County, MS Society, Veterans, churches, breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and local schools.  We have friends and family affected by many of the causes we support, and this has become our motivation to volunteer, be involved and make a difference.  We enjoy volunteering because it is community oriented and benefits everyone.  Little efforts can bring about great changes when done together.  Volunteering feels good and our community is a better place to live when we help each other.

Michael Dash, Surveillance Training Analyst

Organization:  The Salvation Army of Atlantic City

Through a volunteer event organized by Ocean, I assisted at The Salvation Army by handing out food from the food pantry to their clients.  The people we served were very grateful and it was personally rewarding to help out at The Salvation Army facility.  Having food and not having to worry about getting your next meal is something that a lot of people take for granted.  Being able to help people who are not as fortunate, and especially from our local community in Atlantic City, is humbling and rewarding.  Ocean has fundraising and volunteer opportunities year-round to assist local nonprofit organizations.  We are all volunteering for a common goal—to help others.  To be able to volunteer with Ocean team members is a great way to get to know people from other departments, while positively impacting the community.  I encourage everyone to volunteer for something they care about, whatever the cause may be.

Allison Diamond, Human Resources Engagement Manager

Organizations:  Upper Township Basketball Association Board and Upper Township Softball

I volunteer on the Upper Township Basketball Association Board and also as a coach for Upper Township softball.  Each organization works with the community, players and coaches to provide a fun, instructional and competitive environment for kids to learn and play basketball/softball.  I was inspired to volunteer because I was a player in both of these organizations when I was younger.  Now I volunteer my time because my children play, and I want them to have the same opportunities and positive experiences I had when I was a player.

 

 

Daniel Kuehnl, Collections Manager

Organization:  Stratford Fire Department, Stratford Volunteer Ambulance Squad, USA Hockey Coach and Officials Instructor, American Red Cross

I am a first responder both with the fire and EMS to protect life and property.  As a first responder, we want to help people and we put ourselves into dangerous situations in order to help.  When I can help someone in their time of need, it makes a difference and when I succeed in doing that, there’s no better feeling.  There are dangers, but we are not thinking about them because as a first responder, our fears are less than that of the person who is in distress and who is looking to us and depending on us for help.  The things I’ve learned as a first responder (FIRE or EMS) has made a difference to the people around me and to many other people I have never met before.  All those differences are the reasons why I am a Volunteer First Responder.

As a coach and a hockey official, it’s about mentoring, teaching the game of hockey and teaching officiating, while also trying to apply life goals and values.

 

Chris O’Connor, Vice President of Player Development

Organization:  Covenant House of New Jersey

Having worked in Atlantic City for many years, I have been aware of the organization and the important role the Covenant House plays within this community.  The services the Covenant House provides to local youth in crisis--including a safe housing option, food, clothing and programs providing guidance to live and thrive independently.  In November, I was humbled to participate in the Sleep Out event and give up my bed for the night to bring awareness to youth homelessness in Atlantic City and raise funds to support their programs.  Ocean Casino Resort is a committed supporter of the Covenant House throughout the year and I personally have found it a rewarding experience to be involved with an organization that is a pillar of our community and much-needed advocate for the Atlantic City youth.

 

To learn more about Ocean and its philanthropic efforts go to: theoceanac.com/ocean-cares/

 

 

 

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