Robin Poppenhouse, Ingalls Shipbuilding
Ingalls Shipbuilding employee Robin Poppenhouse supports a number of charitable events every year, but she is best known for her volunteer work at Special Olympics Mississippi. 2019 will be her 10th year organizing Ingalls’ Olympic Village at the Summer Games.
“When you ask me about the rewards of volunteering,” she said, “it’s all about the smiles, hugs, love, laughter and sometimes heartbreak, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. … It’s just something you do and don’t think twice about it.”
Poppenhouse shares this spotlight with her fellow shipbuilder volunteers.
“We have some wonderful employees here at Ingalls,” she said. “If I could reach out to every one of them I would say, ‘Thank you for supporting me in the past, and I look forward to more adventures in the future.’”
Marie Lohman,Technical Solutions
Marie Lohman, an employee at Technical Solutions’ Mission Driven Innovative Solutions group, volunteers for a number of organizations in Orlando, including the Friends of the Osceola Library, Light of Life Rescue Mission and the St. Thomas Aquinas Thrift Store. One of the most meaningful to her is Friends of Nosara, which delivers rice, beans and other necessities to families in Nosara, Costa Rica.
“I am not very good about speaking about my volunteering because I don’t do it for me or to enhance people’s opinion of me,” she said. “I just do what I do because my blessings outweigh my struggles, and hopefully my giving a token of all that I have to someone who could use it will allow them to see that at that moment, their blessings outweighed their struggles as well.”
Cynthia Allen-Whyte, HII Corporate
Cynthia Allen-Whyte, an employee in HII’s corporate office, joined the Women in Shipbuilding Enterprise (aka the WiSE employee resource group) when she started working at Newport News Shipbuilding in 2012. She’s now a member of the WiSE board.
“I have strived to continue to make a difference with each thing we do as an organization,” she said, “whether that is providing resources for our members or contributing to the community by helping with filling Christmas wishes for children in the court system or working with middle school girls to help change the world.”
Allen-Whyte is also an active member of the Christopher Newport Alumni Society and the East End Flyers Track & Field Club.
“If you don’t have the capability to contribute to a cause financially,” she said, “there are other ways to make a difference—by giving your time and your talent.”
Terence Wood & Phil True, NNS
Terence Wood and Phil True were among the Newport News Shipbuilding employees recognized in 2018 for their work with Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg.
“I volunteer for construction projects because I enjoy making saw dust, pounding nails and building things,” True said, “but I also enjoy the back-and-forth banter and camaraderie with the other volunteers and, of course, helping families in need of assistance.”
True also volunteers with the Appalachia Service Project and the TATOO (Taking Action To Overcome Obstacles) tutoring program. Wood, a member of The Apprentice School Jaycees, also volunteers at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church soup kitchen.
“I find that donating and volunteering locally to support and assist our Newport News neighbors, where you can actually see the good that you are doing, is not only the right thing to do but spiritually satisfying as well,” he said.