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Citigroup employees honored for volunteering time in community

September 07, 2005|by Pepper Ballard

HAGERSTOWN

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Government "has usurped the role of philanthropy," which is why recognizing volunteerism is so necessary, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., told a group of Citigroup employees gathered Tuesday to receive awards for service to the community.

Bartlett presented most of the 22 employees with The President's Volunteer Service Award.

He told those gathered in a Citigroup conference room that they should get a warm feeling April 15, when they file their taxes, because they are being philanthropists.

"American people really do care," he said, citing relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina victims as an example.

Michael DiSciullo, president of the Hagerstown Citigroup site, said three employees received a gold award, or volunteered more than 500 hours in 2004; three employees received a silver award, or volunteered between 250 and 500 hours; and 16 received bronze awards, meaning they volunteered up to 250 hours.

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"This is all on their own time," he said. "We just support them."

Each year, DiSciullo said employees give their time to United Way, Habitat for Humanity and March of Dimes. Citigroup gave $1 million toward helping the victims of the tsunami last year and has given $1 million toward helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"We're a company that really cares about the community we live in," he said.

Michelle Baranowske, 39, received a silver award for her service, which includes volunteering as a therapeutic instructor at Star Equestrian Center.

Baranowske said her children give up their spare time to help her sometimes.

Likewise for Cristy Smoot, 42, a gold award recipient, and Laura Likely, 40, a bronze award recipient, who said their children get involved.

Likely's children help at Western Maryland Blues Fest and Smoot's children help with Parent Teacher Association and school-related functions.

"It keeps me balanced. It keeps me motivated," Likely said.

For Anthony Aquino, 35, who helps raise money for the American Cancer Society, volunteering is meaningful.

Aquino, who served in the U.S. Army, said, "It should be a professional goal" to volunteer.

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