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Preshard earns President's Volunteer Service Award

May 24, 2019
By KATIE EGAN ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Ernie Preshard is one of 155 AT&T employees in the Sunshine State to receive the prestigious President's Volunteer Service Award.

Twenty-two Floridians were honored with the gold; 37, including Preshard, took home the silver; and 79 received the bronze.

The PVSA recognizes individuals who demonstrate a commitment to volunteerism throughout the year.

Article Photos

Ernie Preshard

Preshard, a Cape Coral employee, will receive the Silver PVSA for completing 250 to 499 hours of service.

This is his first time winning and he said it's a "pretty awesome experience."

"I've seen it from a distance and I've had folks on my team that have won in the past," he said. "And I've really looked up to the folks for their commitment to service."

Preshard, who is among 4,149 AT&T employees in the country to receive the award this year, has volunteered since his early to mid-20s. He focuses primarily on wildlife conservation and works with the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Last year, the area RAN (radio access network) manager spent more than 400 hours volunteering and organizing fundraisers for the nonprofit organization, which focuses on the conservation of the wild turkey.

Preshard has a real passion for helping wildlife, and he says it's easy to make time to volunteer if the passion is there.

"I don't binge on Netflix," he said and laughed. "Wildlife is my passion. It's my release in what could be considered a stressful career."

Preshard works on network upgrades and does things like take out equipment that's no longer used.

As part of the network team, he also gives new cell sites extra capacity or coverage in an area. For example, in the case of a big event, AT&T may want to add coverage in that area and roll out additional cell sites.

Preshard has been with the company since 1992 and he and his team are largely responsible for the cell towers you see in Southwest Florida.

In addition to the PVSA, Preshard will receive presidential recognition, a personalized certificate, an official PVSA pin and a congratulatory letter from President Trump.

As a recipient of the Silver PVSA, AT&T will issue Preshard a $250 Charity Reward grant from the AT&T Foundation that can be directed to any 501c3 charity of his choice.

"We are so grateful for our employees like Ernie in what has become a tradition for AT&T to improve our communities," said Kelly Starling of AT&T media relations. "We are extremely proud."

The PVSA recognizes U.S. citizens who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime.

The PVSA is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is administered by Points of Light. The CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in results-driven service each year via 70,000 community and faith-based organizations.

Points of Light is the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages more than 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year.

"Our employees' tre-mendous spirit of service is part of the fabric of our company. Their selfless contributions make our communities and our company stronger," said Joe York, president of AT&T Florida. "We congratulate this year's AT&T PVSA winners here in Florida and across the company, and we thank them for sharing."

Volunteerism is a big part of the telecommunications company's culture. Last year, AT&T employees volunteered 1.5 million hours of time in community outreach activities.

"I like seeing the total impact we have," Preshard said. "I love accolades, but for me it's even bigger than that.

"Sometimes, we don't think we have the time for it, but once you get started you realize, 'Boy, what did I do before?'" he asked. "If you're passionate about something, there are so many worthwhile things, so many things we can do in our community, and I think getting out there and taking that first step is a really important first step."



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