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Wheaton AT&T employee earns presidential award for volunteer work

Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:00 a.m. CST

WHEATON – Valerie Bruggeman of West Chicago was hired in 1999 by AT&T to run AT&T Pioneers, the company’s volunteer organization. Although she now serves as the director of external affairs and government relations at AT&T’s Wheaton office, her dedication to volunteer work continues, earning her presidential recognition.

In March, Bruggeman was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her volunteerism in 2012, which included efforts through AT&T Veterans, USO of Illinois and the St. Francis High School Alumni Board.

Along with other AT&T employees, Bruggeman submitted her service hours via the AT&T Cares internal system. The company then nominated workers for the award.

“It’s part of the culture here at AT&T,” Bruggeman said.

AT&T Veterans is one of the company’s Employee Resource Groups, which provide support for employees and the community.

More than 10,000 AT&T employees actively participate in the 10 groups that represent a variety of individuals, including women, veterans, people with disabilities and more.

“These groups reflect and help us connect with our diverse customer base,” AT&T spokesperson Erin McGrath said.

One of Bruggeman’s first big projects as head of AT&T Pioneers in 1999 was to engage AT&T employees and retirees in support of the national WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“It was definitely a wonderful opportunity,” Bruggeman said. “It re-energized me to support the military.”

AT&T had supported the memorial through a corporate contribution, but Bruggeman was charged with looking for ways to engage individual employees and retirees. Some made donations themselves, while others visited schools in the area to speak about WWII and the memorial.

Since then, Bruggeman has continued to volunteer through AT&T Veterans, and she also became involved with USO of Illinois through AT&T, which had partnered with the USO in the past.

“It’s important to support our military and families in any way we can,” Bruggeman said.

Her volunteerism has extended beyond veteran causes as well. Bruggeman recently completed her term as chair of the St. Francis High School Alumni Board in 2012.

Overall, Bruggeman completed more than 500 hours of service last year.

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