The people at EVB are big believers — in their communities, in their customers and in their fellow teammates. That’s why the company has an ongoing program to encourage its staff members to reach out in their localities and lend a helping hand. “Community involvement is one of our core values and something we’re very passionate about,” said Michelle Hastings Simon, senior vice president and marketing director for EVB. The bank encourages volunteerism by allowing employees paid time away from work to serve worthy causes in their communities. In addition to volunteerism, the bank supports its localities by sponsorship of events and assistance to local non-profit groups. EVB demonstrates its commitment to communities at all levels of the organization, with employees determined to be community leaders and big believers.
KIA WARE Senior VP/Chief Information Officer
Cooke Foundation for the Arts
For the past year, EVB’s Kia Ware has been volunteering a block of her time to support the Cooke Foundation for the Arts and the renovation of The DAW Theater. “The theater is beloved by people in Essex County and Tappahannock who remember when it was an active and vibrant theater,” she said. “Unfortunately, it has been abandoned and in a state of disrepair for quite a few years. I have great memories of seeing movies there years ago, and when I was approached to join the team to restore it back to a performing arts venue, I jumped at the chance.”
Mrs. Ware was introduced to the project by two local innkeepers with theater backgrounds who spearheaded the renovation effort. Once she heard their ambitious plans, she became an enthusiastic advocate of the program and was asked to serve as president of the foundation. “I love the arts and spending time working with such a great group of people,” she said.
The goal of the foundation is to restore the DAW theater and bring in regular performing art shows. “Because we are just beginning this process, our biggest need is funding,” she noted. “We have some great fundraisers in the planning stages and we would love the community’s support.” For more information, visit thecookefoundation.org.
Indian Rivers Humane Society,
Tappahannock-Essex County Animal Shelter
In addition, Mrs. Ware is on the board of the Indian Rivers Humane Society and works frequently at the local Essex shelter. “I love animals, especially dogs, and I have always volunteered at local shelters wherever I have lived,” she said. The Indian Rivers Humane Society serves the counties of Essex, King and Queen and King William to help improve animal welfare through adoption, spay/neuter initiatives and education. Indian Rivers works with local shelters in support of their missions and just donated $12,000 to the Essex animal shelter to rebuild the exercise yard. The shelter was informed several months ago that the current exercise yard did not meet state code and could no longer be used, which meant that the dogs housed at the shelter had no exercise space. With the Indian Rivers donation and others, this will change soon and work has started on a new exercise yard.
When she first moved to the area, Mrs. Ware got involved with Indian Rivers through a friend. She then branched out and volunteered at the Essex shelter when a humane society member went to work full-time at the facility. “I love seeing good dogs get a second chance,” she said. The shelter manager, Ellen Shifflett, works with rescue groups, volunteers and with the animals to rehabilitate, foster and adopt-out the dogs and cats that come through the shelter. Mrs. Ware has been involved with Indian Rivers for about ten years and has served on its board of directors for about four years.
“I would love to see the shelter facilities continue to be improved so that emergency medical care can be offered immediately to animals that need it,” she said. “Also, we can improve housing space and continue to encourage successful adoptions. Others can help by volunteering. All of the dogs need exercise, and training them to walk on a leash makes them easier to adopt. Also, the shelter runs on a tight county budget so donations are always needed and appreciated. Lastly, instead of purchasing a dog from a breeder, consider adopting from your local shelter. There are so many great animals that need homes and are locked up in high-kill pounds and shelters.” For more information contact the shelter at 804-443-0726.
Ryan Barack: IT Systems Manager
Upper Lancaster Volunteer Fire Department
EVB’s Ryan Barrack has been a volunteer firefighter since the age of 16 — a total of 14 years. He’s spent 12 of those years with the Upper Lancaster Volunteer Fire Department (ULVFD). “I volunteer to fight fires because I love to help others in a time of need,” he said.
Barrack became a firefighter in high school when he and a friend joined a local department together. They both are still firefighters, but with neighboring departments. “I really enjoy helping people,” he said.
“I like to see the difference it makes in the community when people volunteer,” he added. “We need members, so if others would like to help they can join the ULVFD. If you can’t fight fire, we always need help with things around the firehouse — someone to help with fundraisers and things like that.”
Tappahannock Farmers’ Market
EVB is proud to be a lead sponsor of the Tappahannock Farmers’ Market and EVB’s Patricia Gallagher is pleased to be part of the effort. “We believe that it is incumbent upon us to support our local community and economy,” she said. “So, the EVB family volunteers at the Welcome Tent to extend our warmest greetings to our customers, neighbors and friends, as well as to welcome new visitors to the community,” she added. “It’s a great way to stay in touch with our neighbors and to give a warm reception to visitors.”
This year marks the seventh season of the Tappahannock Farmers’ Market and Mrs. Gallagher has been involved from the beginning. “As a life-long member of this community, I join many volunteers who endeavor to think of ways to grow our local economy and bring our neighbors together,” she said. “The community rallied and has demonstrated great support of this initiative, and I think we all can be proud of the quality of the vendors who offer their wares — from fresh produce to novel giftware.” Organizers are happy to see that the vendors have a strong following at the market, and many repeat visitors attend monthly to purchase goods from people whom they have come to rely on for quality iteMrs.
“I enjoy seeing my customers, neighbors, and friends and staying in touch with their families—many multi-generational customers of EVB,” Mrs. Gallagher said. “I also enjoy meeting new people and cordially welcoming them to our community.”
Mrs. Gallagher hopes that her volunteer involvement, as well as that of her fellow EVB teammates, contributes to visitors’ positive experiences and overall enjoyment of the market. “I hope that I can make them feel appreciated,” she said. “We always encourage volunteers of course, and others can help by coming out and supporting our local community.”