Union Pacific Employees Sharing the Spirit with Local Giving

North Platte Employees

North Platte UP VETS members deliver custom wooden trees and ornaments to raffle winners from their charitable giving campaign. From left: Josh Howe, director-Mechanical Maintenance, presents Jason Weaver, carperson welder, with a U.S. Army-themed prize. Right: Mike Werlinger, manager-Locomotive Maintenance, presents Gene Petersen Jr., manager-Locomotive Maintenance, with his Air Force-themed prize. Not pictured: Jerry Ochoa, senior manager-Remote Control Operations, will present Conductor Chris McAllister with a Marine Corps-themed prize.

In towns across Union Pacific’s 23-state network, our employees are supporting charitable giving campaigns this holiday season. In this first seasonal spotlight, railroaders are showing community pride in North Platte and Omaha, Nebraska, as well as North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Battle for Good: UPVETS North Platte Chapter Supports Local Families

STS: North Platte Machinist Troy Garrels

Machinist Troy Garrels, his daughter, Ali, and wife, Kira, built and donated custom wooden holiday trees to encourage employee donations to North Platte’s Adopt-A-Family event.

The North Platte UPVETS chapter raised more than $500 for Adopt-A-Family efforts supporting local families at Madison Middle School in North Platte, Nebraska.

“The funds will be used to purchase gifts, clothing and other necessities,” said Mike Werlinger, manager-Locomotive Maintenance. “Any additional funds will be applied to a new, local UPVETS scholarship fund to assist the children of military veterans.”

Team members from Transportation and Mechanical, including the Locomotive and Car Departments, competed to see who could generate the biggest collection of good cheer, with Transportation securing the win.

To encourage employee participation, Troy Garrels, machinist, and his family created and donated custom wooden tabletop tree decorations for an employee raffle. Raffle winners were able to select a decorative ornament with their choice of service branch.

Omaha Red Kettle Corporate Challenge Rings in the New Year

STS: Red Kettle - Kari K | MR

Union Pacific employees rang in support for The Salvation Army with a bellringing campaign.

Union Pacific led the Salvation Army’s first-ever Corporate Red Kettle Challenge Dec. 7, helping raise more than $450,000 for the Salvation Army of Omaha’s Tree of Lights Campaign.

As part of the citywide campaign, Omaha’s ABC station conducted live interviews in the Union Pacific Center atrium with Chairman Lance Fritz and Kari Kirchhoefer, vice president-Premium, Marketing and Sales. Fritz and his wife, Julie, are leading this year’s citywide Tree of Lights campaign.

Employees were greeted throughout the day with bellringers and festive rice krispie treats to raise campaign awareness.


Future-Focused: UP Ties Raises More than $29,000 for College Possible

STS: UPTies presents College Possible with check | MR

Omaha College Possible team members accept a donation from Union Pacific Ties, from left: Jennifer Reyna, Champion for College Possible; Jianqiang Hao, advisory board member; Melissa Valek, development director; and Arvin Frazier, senior executive director.

After a full year of fundraisers and volunteer events, the Union Pacific Ties leadership team proudly presented nonprofit College Possible’s Omaha chapter with a check for more than $29,000.

“We’ve broken fundraising records the last few years – and this year was no exception,” said Aurelio Picazo Perea, associate project analyst, Tech, and Union Pacific Ties Professional Networking Committee co-chair.

The College Possible donation will support more than 1,700 students at partner high schools and college campuses, assisting with ACT prep, college and workforce exploration, college and scholarship applications, and financial literacy.

“In 2023, we’re proud to announce our partnership with College Possible will continue for a third year,” said Stevie Gerken, manager, Marketing and Sales, and Union Pacific Ties president.

STS: UPTies Holiday Party | LR

After sharing their College Possible donation, Union Pacific Ties members celebrate the season with community partner organizations.

Community Ties: North Little Rock BEN Adopt-A-Family and Bike Drive

STS: North Little Rock Bike Drive | MR

North Little Rock BEN leadership team worked together to bring good cheer to local students and their families. From left: Antoine Sims Sr., facility supervisor and BEN president; Derwin Davis, senior recruiter, and BEN secretary; Gerald McNeal, conductor, and BEN vice president; and Stephen Harris, senior instructor-Track and BEN treasurer.

UP’s Black Employee Network (BEN) chapter in North Little Rock, Arkansas, is a small but mighty group diving into its local community with a series of cheerful activities this year.

In partnership with a local school counselor, the chapter provided a full holiday meal and shelf-stable meal starters to a local Pine Bluff, Arkansas, family in need. They then kicked it up a notch by purchasing two bicycles for Pine Bluff students.

“This gives us so much joy,” said Antoine Sims Sr., facility supervisor, Mechanical, and BEN president.

Throughout the year, the local BEN chapter hopes to continue donating its time and talents to career mentorship programs like ‘Be Pro Be Proud’ which encourages the next generation of American workers to consider technical training programs.

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