CITGO Refinery Aids Illinois Villages

Employees donate to local tornado victims, holiday charity

LEMONT, Ill. -- Two donations by CITGO’s Lemont Refinery helped communities across Illinois recover from the devastating tornadoes in November 2013 and residents of another village spread holiday cheer.

Tornado Relief

The CITGO Community Action Team (CCAT), the employee volunteer organization at the CITGO Lemont Refinery, conducted a donation drive to help communities across Illinois recover from the devastating tornadoes in November 2013. CCAT volunteers collected and sorted donations from employees and contractors, including non-perishable food, clothing, infant toiletries, monetary gifts and household goods.

They collected more than $1,500 and several hundred relief items for displaced individuals and families in Diamond, Coal City and Washington, Ill.

“It’s a humbling experience to see how my coworkers stepped up to donate and help individuals and families who suffered such tremendous losses,” said Pete Colarelli, government and public affairs manager at the CITGO Lemont Refinery. “We are deeply committed to giving back to our communities and will continue to reach out and help our neighbors get back on their feet and move forward.”

The donation drive took place from Nov. 18 through 25, kicking off the day after an EF2 tornado ravaged the Diamond and Coal City area.

CITGO employees and contractors donated $1,500 towards the Illinois tornado relief efforts, as well as vital supplies and volunteer hours to ease the suffering of the storm victims. The donated items were delivered by CCAT members to a collection site near Diamond. These efforts were coordinated with local agencies to guarantee the effective distribution of supplies to tornado victims.

“This has been a difficult time for us, but the donations of volunteer hours, equipment, supplies and money from the CITGO Lemont Refinery employees has allowed our residents and businesses to keep their spirits high and their hope alive,” said Village of Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc. “They know that they are not alone in this effort to recover and rebuild. The CITGO Lemont Refinery and their employees have made a huge positive impact on the Village of Diamond. We are truly thankful for everything they have done for us and are blessed by their generosity.”

Holiday Cheer

Meanwhile, CITGO employees adopted 16 families as part of the Village of Romeoville’s sixth-annual Operation Christmas program in December, providing gifts and monetary support to ensure these families had a brighter holiday.

“We are so inspired by the work the Village of Romeoville is doing to help neighbors in need this holiday season,” said Colarelli. “This is our fourth year supporting the program, and each year our employees want to help more families. The level of participation in Operation Christmas has far exceeded my expectations. I am continually amazed at the compassion of my fellow employees. All of us here at CITGO are grateful that we are able to help make the holidays special for members of our communities.”

This past December, CITGO employees “adopted” 16 local families, providing gifts for a total of 50 children. Employees also sent personalized cards wishing each family a happy, peaceful and safe holiday which included $400 in CITGO Gift Cards to help the families offset daily travel expenses.

"One of the most important parts of this program is how our community partners like CITGO step up, and step in, to assist our local families in times of need,” said Pastor Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle, coordinator of Romeoville’s Operation Christmas Program. “The CITGO Lemont Refinery has been one of our biggest supporters since getting involved in Operation Christmas in 2010. I try to share with CITGO the joy and smiles that I am lucky enough to see from the parents who receive the gifts for their children. The involvement of the generous CITGO employees makes it possible for us to continue to provide a special holiday for those who might not otherwise have it."

The CITGO Lemont Refinery employs more than 800 local residents on a full-time and contract basis in support of the local economy. In addition to producing high-quality fuels for a large portion of the network of nearly 6,000 locally-owned CITGO stations across the country, Lemont refinery employees also make a major positive impact on the community. Each year, more than 2,500 volunteer hours and thousands of dollars are given in support of community programs such as Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Way and a variety of environmental and preservation programs.