News Release
Nov. 12, 1998


HOUSTON - Duke Energy awarded six company employees as volunteers of the year. They are Faye Riggs, Penny Parish, John Pepper, Sheila Janke and Doug Reese. These outstanding volunteers were presented their awards at a ceremony conducted at the Junior League Oct. 28. One employee is selected by a panel of judges to be named the Torchbearer winner. This year, that honor went to John Pepper.

Duke Energy started its commitment to volunteerism in 1991. As many as 1,200 employees have given their time across Houston and Harris County to charitable efforts in the past eight years.

Daniel Bernhard, senior technical specialist on the Texas Eastern pipeline at Duke Energy, was named one of the company’s six volunteers of the year. He lives in Kingwood in the 77339 ZIP code.

Bernhard volunteers with the Texas Inmate Families Association, which is an educational and informational group reaching out to those families. Children of offenders are prime candidates to follow their parents into prison; statistics show that six of 10 children will follow in these "family footsteps." TIFA helps families learn how to pick up the pieces of their lives and educates them on how the prison system works — it is a family advocate, not an inmate advocate.

Bernhard has given both financial support and personal time as a TWA board member. He developed and maintains the group’s Web site and has even built computers for TIFA. Bernhard has worked closely with state representatives as well as the governor on TWA’s behalf. Since Bernhard joined the board two years ago, membership has grown from 300 to 3,000.

Linda Reese, TIFA executive director, said that prison inmates’ families often are viewed as part of the crime. She credits him for having the courage to bring needed changes to assist this ever-increasing number of families — she says the criminal justice system has tripled in two years.

"Children are left behind, and their families face far-reaching problems," Reese said. "Dan’s personal commitment is something to be admired and recognized. TIFA would not be where we are today without Dan’s unselfish commitment and courage to stand for what is just and right."

Sheila Janke, senior secretary in environmental protection at Duke Energy, was named one of the company’s six volunteers of the year. She lives in Spring in the 77373 ZIP code.

For the Spring Dolphins, a group that provides adult guidance and caring for young ladies, Janke sells pickles, provides snacks and water for the girls and is a Squad Mom — a role in which she comforts and offers inspiration to the girls.

A single mother, Janke understands the importance of tending to the needs of children, which is probably why she concentrates so much of her volunteer activities on children. Janke gives her time to the Alphabet Society, Caring Cradles, Catch the Spirit, the American Cancer Society and the Spring Dolphins. With Duke Energy’s Alphabet Society, Janke is the vice chairman on the executive committee, the back-to-school supply drive coordinator and the Cypress field trip coordinator. She unselfishly became a pen pal to several children when other corporate pen pals could not be found. Janke is a receipt point volunteer for Caring Cradles, which works with low-income mothers and mothers-to-be to make sure that the infants receive the proper care. She also has been an unofficial recruiter and official donor for the Catch the Spirit campaign each holiday season.

She also put her best foot forward again and again during the American Cancer Society Run for Life Relay, in which teams ran a consecutive 24-hour relay to raise funds for the ACS. Three Duke Energy teams participated, and came in first, second and third places!

Duke Energy supervisors Jack Hotzel and Daniel Tran said in nominating Sheila that she "is a caring volunteer who puts her heart, soul and mind into helping others in society who need a helping hand."

Penny Parish, director of facilities management at Duke Energy, was named one of the company’s volunteers of the year. She lives in West University in the 77005 ZIP code.

Organizations "sing" the praises of volunteer Penny Parish. For 13 years, Parish has volunteered her time with the Houston Grand Opera in various functions from the hospitality committee, the annual fund drive to the executive committee. Four years ago, Parish led Duke Energy’s United Way campaign to a record-breaking contribution level, so this past season, HGO convinced Parish to work on the opera’s annual fund-raising drive. That campaign brought in $1.86 million, the largest HGO drive ever. Parish has agreed to chair next year’s fund-raising drive.

Parish has served in many volunteer capacities with HGO: she has served on the HGO Guild as a vice president, first vice president and for three years, president. During her tenure on the guild, she increased membership from 300 to 3,000. She currently is a member of the board of trustees executive committee. She chaired the 1995 HGO Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers and has been a member of the HGO Studio Executive Committee. For all her hard work with HGO, Parish received the opera’s volunteer of the year award in 1994.

HGO officials say that Parish’s accomplishment as Volunteer of the Year has set an "undying precedent" for volunteerism at the opera.

"Penny is an exceptional case in what true volunteerism represents," says Tammy Smithers, director of corporate giving. "She epitomizes one who acts out of her own free will, giving selflessly of her time and talents. Depending partially on the support of volunteers and donors, UGO is grateful for her hard work and dedication."

As if all that volunteerism wasn’t time consuming enough, Parish also gives her time to the International Facilities Management Association, the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Rice Design Alliance, the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society and the Galleria Chamber of Commerce. She has been on the board of directors of the Texas Institute for Arts in Education, is on the executive committee of the Mental Health Association of Harris County and serves on the board of trustees of the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.

John Pepper, manager of environmental protection with Duke Energy, was selected as one of the company’s volunteers of the year. He lives in the Galleria area in the 77057 ZIP code. One employee is selected by a panel of judges to be named the Torchbearer winner. This year, that honor went to Pepper.

Pepper has volunteered his time with Trees for Houston for three years. Trees for Houston has planted 145,000 trees across town since 1983 — that’s a lot of leaves to rake!--and heightens community awareness of our urban forest.

Pepper is chairman of the neighborhood projects committee, and he has created marketing and information presentations for the group and is responsible for recruiting many new members through these efforts. He helped organize and ran in the 1996 Run for Releaf fund-raiser for Trees for Houston. Pepper also helped the organization acquire corporate-donated office equipment and has traveled the metropolitan area documenting the newly planted trees as they grow.

"John’s creativity in approaching all projects is a wonderful gift to our organization," said Katharine Lord, executive director of Trees for Houston.

Pepper’s community involvement doesn’t stop with trees. He served as co-chairman of the Relay for Life teams with the American Cancer Society. With Pepper’s help, Houston was one of four cities in Texas’ 80 relay races to raise more than $100,000. He also chaired the education and information provided at the event. He created the Cancer Control Corral in which participants could learn about early detection and prevention of cancer. Mabel Menefee, manager of community relations for Duke Energy, said that "It was amazing to watch him take that project and run with it. The results were fantastic!"

"It is unique to have someone move from just participating in an event to having them get so involved that they co-chair that event, especially in one to two years. John did exactly that," said Julie Voss, development director of the American Cancer Society, Houston. "He is able to help everyone have a better understanding of the big picture."

Pepper also volunteers with the Assistance Fund, pays health insurance premiums for people living with AIDS until they are eligible for Medicare. This assistance prevents them from living off publicly funded health programs. Pepper helps in fund-raising and created and writes the Assistance Fund newsletter.

Doug Reese, coordinator of benefits administration at Duke Energy, was selected as one of the company’s volunteers of the year. He lives in the Tanglewood area in the 77057 ZIP code.

Imagine a loved one is in the hospital - he or she has cancer and has just undergone surgery. Your nerves are on edge, you are scared and you are stuck waiting for news from the doctors. This is a very stressful time for families, and they need comforting.

This is where Reese comes in.

Reese is a volunteer with the Surgery Intensive Care Unit at MID Anderson Cancer Center. Reese is a liaison between doctors and families, and a soft shoulder and supportive ear for the families. Every Monday night, Reese spends four hours in this tense, yet essential role, which requires extensive training and commitment. His reliability, good nature and devotion to MD Anderson Cancer Center have benefited countless patients and their family members. Reese also is an "on-call" volunteer, stepping in for a last-minute cancellation.

Reese provided the link to Duke Energy for funding the Health Adventures Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center, fulfilling the commitment to Houston Promise. This visionary program’s goal is to create a tutoring and mentoring relationship for at-risk students that will make a positive impact on these young people as they are introduced to health careers, community volunteering and healthy living through a monthly program at MD Anderson Cancer Center. More than 40 students have benefited from this program.

Tyrrell Flawn, director of volunteer services at MD Anderson, said that Reese has made an enormous difference in the lives of patients in the cancer center.

"When staff are busy performing procedures and managing heavy work loads, volunteers take time to visit with lonely, frightened patients, listen to their stories from home and worries about their disease and encourage hope," Flawn said. "Doug is an outstanding example of the positive impact volunteers have on our institutional life. We sincerely appreciate his dedication and friendly outreach to our patients, families and visitors."

Faye Riggs, senior clerk in gas control for the Panhandle Eastern and Trunkline pipelines, lives in Houston in the 77013 ZIP code.

Riggs fully embodies the spirit of volunteerism. She donates her time to many Duke Energy-sponsored organizations such as the Alphabet Society, Kid Corp, Sheltering Arms, United Way and the Change Houston campaign. But more than giving time and energy, Riggs gives of herself. Despite experiencing leg pain recently, Riggs showed up early one Saturday morning a few weeks ago to walk the UNCF 5K walk.

As president of Duke Energy’s Alphabet Society, which mentors students at Crockett Elementary, Riggs guides the committee in implementing new programs. A member of the executive committee of Kid Corp. Riggs contributes new ideas and works enthusiastically with the children. She has served as coordinator for UNCF teams and gave direction to the team captains for the volunteer walk. Under Riggs’ direction, Duke Energy’s UNCF walk participation was the largest ever. Plus, she set up the volunteer tent with refreshments and thank you gifts to make sure everyone was well taken care of after the walk. As a Sheltering Arms volunteer, Riggs offers comfort and support to her elderly clients.

Riggs is a valuable motivator on the various committees on which she serves. She has created new programs and improved existing programs to provide excellent resources for Crockett Elementary and the Kid Corp team. Riggs’ motivation has extended into her family — her two children and one grand son often participate in activities with her.

"Working with Faye makes my job much easier," said Duke Energy employee Caryn Kelly, who also is president of Kid Corp. "She has made many contributions of ideas and energy in planning and implementing activities for the children. I don’t know what I would do without her on my team."

Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) is a global energy company with more than $24 billion in assets. Duke Energy companies provide electric service to approximately 2 million customers; operate pipelines that deliver 12 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States; and are leading marketers of electricity, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Globally, the companies develop, own and operate energy facilities and provide engineering, management, operating and environmental services. Contact Duke Energy on the World Wide Web at

Contact: Liz Johnson
Phone: 713-627-5011
24 Hour Phone: 704-382-8333