Appalachian Basin

Chesapeake’s Operation Blue comes to town

In the summer of 2009, Chesapeake Energy created a community service challenge through their H.E.L.P. (Helping Organize Local Progress) Initiative to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary. In just five weeks, employees were challenged to perform 20,000 service hours. The challenge was completed with more than 26,000 hours. The overwhelming success led to the formation of “Operation Blue” in 2010, an annual summer volunteer program in which employees are allowed four hours of company time to do community service.

In the past two summers, thousands of employees volunteered more than 57,000 hours. The program allows volunteers to give back to the community and participate alongside various organizations. In June 2011, 30 Chesapeake employees volunteered more than 200 hours to build a home for Habitat for Humanity

Energy in Depth – Ohio was able to stop by two Operation Blue efforts this summer and chat with some of the hard-working volunteers. On July 10th, employees traveled to Seven Ranges Scout Reservation in Kensington to build 9’ x 9’ wooden platforms. As the picture shows, the platforms are big enough for scouts to place their tents, in order to keep them dry.

First up, Aimee Belden, Community Relations Coordinator for Chesapeake, explained how Operation Blue works from the scout reservation:

We have a group of about 30 employees who are out here as a part of Operation Blue, which is a company sponsored program in which every employee gets four hours of company time to volunteer in the community—Aimee Belden, Chesapeake Energy (:05)

Next, Energy in Depth – Ohio chatted with Wendy Cheatham. She explains that this specific location is special to her and her family:

Well us local employees, we like to see our company give back to our community. My son has gone to this camp as well as my husband and many other family members, so it’s really great to see us get out and do things that will really help our own people—Wendy Cheatham, Chesapeake Energy (:04)

July 20th, Operation Blue traveled to The Wilderness Center in Wilmot. The volunteers were to clear brush to help the existing trees grow and to clear a spot for a seating area. Armed with chain saws, gloves, and safety glasses, the group went to work in brush up to their shoulders:

As we struggled through the high brush, we got a chance to talk to Chesapeake Landman, Jesse Redwine about the unique opportunity Chesapeake has through volunteering in the environment:

This is one of the things that I was pushing for. I know that our industry gets a lot of criticism over, maybe lack of information, about how we damage things, but this is a complete representation about how we do care about the environment—Jesse Redwine, Chesapeake Energy (:29)

Before leaving, we talked to Kristine McMullen about their purpose for volunteering in Wilmot:

We are cleaning out brush, so that there’s a nice, they want to put a bench, a seating area and we’re cleaning out brush so the trees can get a little more energy—Kristine McMullen, Chesapeake Energy (:16)

All the employees Energy in Depth – Ohio got a chance to talk to felt the same way. They each expressed how important it is to give back to the community as Chesapeake continues to expand in Ohio and the Utica Shale region. Not only is Chesapeake helping in the amazing development and opportunities shale is bringing to the state, they are also helping where communities need them.

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