Murrysville's Fey SURE has put in the effort to earn Jefferson Award
By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 8:40 p.m.
Maury Fey hasn't received a paycheck from Westinghouse in close to 20 years. But since his retirement in the mid-1990s, Fey, of Murrysville, has logged more than 14,000 hours working with his fellow engineers. At 76, Fey is the president of Westinghouse SURE – Service Uniting Retired Employees.
Under Fey's leadership, the group has completed more than 1.1 million hours of volunteer work at organizations across the Pittsburgh region. Volunteers with the 850-member group work in local hospitals, deliver and cook meals for homebound senior citizens, and escort visitors around Pittsburgh, to name a few of their myriad efforts.
“I strongly believe that when life's been good to you, you give back to it,” Fey said. “This is my personal way of doing it.”
Fey's role is mostly administrative, he said. The group has existed for nearly 25 years, but when Fey became president in about 1996, its members weren't keeping track of the work they did.
“I thought we really ought to know what we're doing, who we serve and how many hours we do it,” he said.
The first year, the group logged about 36,000 to 40,000 hours. The next, about 60,000. Now, dozens of coordinators keep track of the volunteer hours for their individual organization. It's all kept in an annual report, along with an estimate of what those hours equate to in dollars. Last year, Fey estimates the group put about $18 million worth of volunteering into the community.
For Fey, that's a rewarding outcome.
“My job there is to focus our attention and help to inspire our people to keep going – and to get others to join them,' Fey said.
For his work organizing and leading Westinghouse SURE, Fey received a local Jefferson Award, an award initiated by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard. The award recognizes unsung volunteer heroes and its national award is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize for volunteerism.”
Most of the 14,000 hours Fey has logged were spent leading the organization. But that's not all he's done.
Fey, who works with the Murrysville-Export Republican Committee, helps wrap Christmas presents for local groups. He's delivered daffodils as part of the American Cancer Society's Daffodil Days.
But organizing and leading is what he knows best. Fey spent much of his career at Westinghouse doing just that. In his final role — as a special project manager — the bottom line was his focus. He took a division that was losing $70 million to $80 million annually and helped turn it into a $100 million profit.
That wasn't always easy. Sometimes, he had to tell entire plants full of workers they didn't have a place to work anymore. But other times, he was able to save jobs that were to be eliminated.
Giving back and helping others are more his speed, Fey said. In fact, under his lead, the organization started giving back financially too. He started an initiative that matches any donation up to $250 made by any of SURE's volunteers to a nonprofit they work with.
“It's been a wonderful way to spend your retirement years,” Fey said.
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or email@example.com.
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