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Annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest brings NPC departments together, branches out to make donations to area food banks & non-profit organizations

NPC's 2017 Christmas Tree Decorating Contest department entries


“When You Wish Upon a Star” is a song written for Walt Disney’s 1940 adaptation of the movie Pinocchio, and can be heard during the opening credits. At the beginning of the song, there’s a line that reads: “No request is too extreme.” That’s pretty much the approach Tom Urbain took into every challenge, every assigned task, and every special project he worked on during his 15 years as a trainer/instructional designer in NPC’s Human Resources department.

Whether it was teaching a new process, giving a company overview to visitors, helping someone learn a new piece of software, or filming and editing a new training video, Tom was always on board with all of these types of requests from his co-workers.

When it came time to decide how to decorate for this year’s annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest at NPC, the decision was a pretty easy one for the HR department. It chose a Disney theme to honor Tom, a long-time friend and co-worker who passed away in early November as a result of a brief, sudden illness at the age of 50.

Tom may be gone but definitely not forgotten at NPC.

“He was more than a co-worker, he was family,” said Brian Bracken, a trainer/instructional designer at NPC who worked side-by-side with Tom for a number of years.

NPC's Marketing/Commercial Sales department tree was Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from the movie Fantasia

Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from the movie Fantasia

The Marketing/Commercial Sales department followed the Disney theme to honor co-worker Tom Urbain who recently passed away. The desktop tree was dressed in a red robe with a magician’s hat to resemble Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from the movie Fantasia.

A total of 14 departments at NPC participated in this year’s Christmas Tree Decorating Contest. The majority of those departments donated their fundraising dollars to be used to help Tom’s family over the holidays.

Tom was NPC’s Mr. Disney. He and his family took multiple trips to Disney World in Florida each year, and even traveled coast-to-coast to California to visit Disneyland on one occasion. He was the company’s subject matter expert on all things Disney. If you had a question about taking a vacation to Disney World, you checked with Tom.

When asked how long it took HR to pick a theme for this year’s Christmas Tree Decorating Contest, Brian was quick to answer “the decision was almost instantaneous.” And then added: “with Tom’s passion for Disney in mind, this was a no-brainer. We all thought that this was a great way to keep Tom in our thoughts and prayers.”

The tree decorated by HR started with a tree-topper emblazoned with “Wish Upon a Star” and a photo of a smiling Tom Urbain. Ornaments of characters from Disney movies speckled the green tree with white lights, while music boxes of Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse playing various Christmas tunes surrounded the base of the tree.

The Customer Service/Data Processing department chose to honor Tom by decorating its tree and raising money to benefit the annual Freedom Ride, which Tom had ridden his motorcycle in each year. The patriotic bike ride is held on July 4 and 100 percent of the profits are donated to the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, PA, which provides health care services to veterans in central Pennsylvania.

Learn more about the Freedom Ride at http://www.freedomrideusa.com

NPC's Purchasing department decorated a Pittsburgh Steelers tree this year.

Here we go Steelers, here we go!

What better way to show your team spirit than with a sports-themed Christmas tree? NPC’s purchasing department is full of Pittsburgh sports fans, so this year they decorated their tree with a black-and-gold theme to show their support of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team; last year it was the Pittsburgh Penguins. NPC’s corporate office is only about a 2-hour drive from Pittsburgh.

Giving back during the holiday season

NPC is proud to support groups that are doing great things and our employees share their time, energy and resources to improve the lives of others in our central Pennsylvania communities. This holiday season was no exception as NPC’s annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest generated over $8,000 to donate to charitable causes and more than 2,000 food items that were distributed to area food banks.

“I am so incredibly proud to be part of an organization of people who go above and beyond to GIVE each holiday season,” said Krissa Weyant, NPC’s Recruitment Specialist & Executive Assistant, who organized this year’s contest.

A volunteer from The Claysburg Food Bank

One of NPC’s food deliveries went to The Claysburg Food Bank, located at the Claysburg Church of the Brethren, just a few miles from NPC’s corporate headquarters. The mission of the Claysburg Food Bank is simply to feed the hungry in southern Blair County, and donations by NPC employees helped fill the shelves at this food pantry.

“Last week we had our big (holiday) giveaway,” said Pastor Ron Bashore of the Claysburg Church of the Brethren. “We do that every year, we give a family everything they need for a Christmas meal. We run about 130 families through here every month and (NPC’s donation) helps us stock up for the next couple of weeks. This will help a lot.”

A handful of other very worthy causes were supported by different departments

Love INC
The local chapter of Love INC (In the Name of Christ) in Bedford County, just south of NPC’s corporate headquarters in Claysburg, PA, is a non-profit organization that helps churches help people in need. NPC’s Document Processing department members created their own homemade ornaments, each containing a random act of kindness that were used to decorate their tree.

“Our team really came together and wanted to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with a theme of ‘giving’,” said Amber Donaldson, the contest coordinator for NPC’s Document Processing department. “We felt that since some of our (co-workers) in Document Processing are from all over, even Bedford County, that we would really like to extend our giving. We did some research on Love INC and decided we wanted to help them during this holiday season.”

SFU Beyond The Ribbons
An initiative by students at Saint Francis University (Loretto, PA) to help any SFU student who gets diagnosed with cancer. Casey Gallaher, a member of NPC’s Application Development team, is a recent graduate of SFU.

Tomorrow’s Hope
Did you know there are 40,000 homeless veterans nationwide? Tomorrow’s Hope is a locally owned, transitional housing and service center in Coalport, PA, that helps homeless veterans get back on their feet. NPC’s Business Development team chose this group as its charity.

Ronald McDonald House Charities® Mid-Penn Region
The RMHC Mid-Penn Region’s mission is to help develop, support and encourage programs which will enable children to live their lives to the fullest. NPC is a major corporate sponsor for the RMHC Mid-Penn Region’s annual golf outing fundraiser. NPC Government Sales team supported these efforts.

Central PA Humane Society
CPHS is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to finding loving homes for adoptable animals. Efforts by NPC’s IT department, which decorated its tree using techie items like floppy disks, CDs, memory modules, and computer programming books, supported this pet-friendly cause.

Helping communities thrive is part of our culture

What’s important to NPC’s employees is also important to the company, so the NPC family collectively works to better our surrounding communities. In addition to each department’s individual fundraising efforts, NPC then made a separate donation in each department’s name to support their selected charitable cause.

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