ATLANTA, Georgia – October 2, 2012 – As the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season winds down, there are blue skies ahead for 25-year-old Shannon Belly, a victim of Hurricane Irene who just reached another milestone on the road to her dreams. In the year since she lost her home in the hurricane, Shannon has settled into affordable housing. She has found a full-time job she likes with U.S. Security Associates. The hours are family-friendly, and the location is just minutes from her home and her daughter's day care. Now, Shannon has entered the Criminal Justice program, where she is earning valuable credentials to advance her career. Shannon's story is a testament to the collective power of citizen volunteers, community agencies, and private employers to change lives.
Before Hurricane Irene, Shannon had taken the civil service test with aspirations of becoming a corrections officer. Meanwhile, she was working part-time to support herself and her four-year-old daughter, Allison. Then, in August 2011, Shannon and Allison were among many Central New Jersey residents evacuated in advance of the approaching storm. Four days after the hurricane made landfall, Shannon and Allison returned home to find their apartment under three feet of water. Shannon's car was water-damaged and would not start, leaving her with no transportation to work. Shannon remembers, "I felt hopeless. I did not know what to do."
Over the next three months, Shannon and her daughter moved from place to place, dependent on Somerset County Social Services, friends and relatives. In December, Shannon connected with Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) of Central New Jersey, a not-for-profit network of churches and synagogues that provides homeless families with emergency shelter, meals and help returning to self-sufficiency. Through IHN, Shannon met volunteers Nicole Oringer and her son Eric. Nicole shared Shannon's story and interest in Criminal Justice with her husband Keith Oringer, a regional manager with U.S. Security Associates. Keith contacted fellow regional manager Joe Arwady, who interviewed Shannon and worked with his New Jersey team to find her a full-time security officer assignment in the right location, with the right hours. Shannon has made the most of her opportunity, building valuable experience and excellent employment references that will serve her well in the Criminal Justice field.
Joe Arwady observes, "The helping hand we offered Shannon and Allison exemplifies U.S. Security Associates' commitment to improving life in the communities where we work and live. The opportunity to facilitate Shannon's entrance into the full-time workforce was a no-brainer." Arwady has consistently raised the bar in the Northeast region in terms of sponsoring not-for-profit groups and events and participating in clients' charitable programs.
Reflecting on where she was a year ago, Shannon says, "Now, I am in a much better situation and I see it as a gift. I am grateful to have a 40-hour per week job so I can pay my rent, and I thank God I was able to earn enough money to fix my car. I thank God for my 8-to-4 schedule, which is perfect for my daughter. I like working for U.S. Security, because it is perfect for my goal to become a corrections officer. I am grateful to Nicole and all the people who helped me get back on my feet. I am motivated and feel like all of this was a blessing."
U.S. Security Associates (USA) is the market-leading, wholly-owned American, full-service safety and security solutions provider. With over 160 locally-responsive offices, international locations and over 50,000 dedicated professionals, they offer the most complete array of physical security, remote surveillance, and global consulting and investigations to ensure better outcomes for thousands of clients and a range of industries. Innovative applications of leading-edge, proprietary technology enable USA to rank annually among the world's best training companies, sustain the highest standards of quality, and underscore world-class customer service with unparalleled accountability. USA's rise as one of the largest innovative security solutions leaders is a natural byproduct of these differentiators and enables the company to provide the most Safe. Secure. Friendly.® environments for people, assets, and brands. For more information, visit www.ussecurityassociates.com.
Natalie Fischer, Marketing Manager