LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In 1987, a group of employees from the CITGO refinery decided they wanted to start giving back to the community through non-profit organizations. They formed "TeamCITGO" and got right to it.
"We feel it is our duty to help give back to the community that we operate in," said Dennis Thibodeaux, longtime TeamCITGO volunteer.
"I love what we do for the community," said Petula Glaspie, a TeamCITGO volunteer. "But It's also a great opportunity to get to know more about the employees we work with. At almost every event, we get to meet new people in the community."
From planting coastal marsh grass to dragon boat races to E Recycle Day, these CITGO workers put in almost 4,000 volunteer hours per year.
"My favorite event is United Way Day of Caring where we go to the United Way office and we pack food for the kids so they can have a bag of food every weekend to take home with them," said member Chellie Labove. "It's an event that I like because I can involve my kids."
"It's probably the Special Olympics," said Thibodeaux. "Every year when we go out there and we see the athletes struggling and performing so well. When we get to cheer for them, it's heartwarming."
This can-do attitude by TeamCITGO members makes them one of the most highly sought after volunteer groups in the Lake Area.
"You really get to see how regardless of what you have, you can always bless others with your time," said Glaspie.
TeamCITGO was recently recognized by the Louisiana Legislature for its 30th anniversary. In 2016, TeamCITGO volunteered at 55 events in the Lake Area.