Thank You FirstEnergy Military Veterans

November 15, 2018

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Fighting ceased when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

In honor of Veterans Day, which was Sunday, Nov. 11, we’re saluting our 1,700 employees – about 11 percent of our employee population – who serve or have served in our country’s military.

Here are some of our patriots and their thoughts about Veterans Day.

For Paul Crilley, advanced distribution instructor, Relay and Controls, his service in the U.S. Navy provided him with the technical skills needed for his FirstEnergy career. Paul’s military background includes work in Submarine Service with a Rank E-6; Rating – Electrician’s Mate First Class Nuclear; Subplant Sub-group 6 Charleston, S.C., and Holy Loch, Scotland.

He is proud of the company’s support of military veterans. “FirstEnergy openly welcomes and encourages those with military backgrounds in every job class, by seeing the value of those skills generously contributing to workplace diversity long before it became one of our core values. Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the contributions to American freedom that each veteran voluntarily contributed to behold and defend.”

Paul pictured in uniform.

Paul today.

Micah proudly stands next to the American flag on a job site.

Micah Herndon, substation electrician-B, Fairlawn, served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a corporal (E-4) and a machine gunner squad leader. He completed more than 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as a gunner on top of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs). Herndon recently became involved with the FirstEnergy Veterans and Allies EBRG (Leadership and Mentoring Committee).

“I salute all of my fellow coworkers for their service. As veterans, we are an asset that provide diverse backgrounds within our organization,” said Micah.





Barbara during her service in the U.S. Navy.

Barbara Bower, business technician II, Asset Information, served in the U.S. Navy from 1978 until 1982. Stationed in Edzell, Scotland, she was a cryptologic technician collector where she listened to Russian communications. Barbara is proud of the company’s support of veterans and honors her fellow active and military veterans on Veterans Day and every day.

“Veterans Day to me is about supporting veterans before me – and those who will follow. So many have made great sacrifices, physically and emotionally, and through time missed family events. But they do it to support our freedoms. We should be thankful not just on Nov. 11 but each day. Take time to thank a veteran.”

JCP&L Chief Substation James “Randy” Hoagland served in the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., and 78th Engineer Bn. European Command Allied Mobile Force (NATO), with 22 years in the 114th Infantry Regiment NJARNG. Randy was activated to patrol Newark Airport directly after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, and in 2003, he supported Operation Enduring Freedom in the Middle East.

“Each Veterans Day, I reflect on the sacrifices many men and women made since our country began. I understand those sacrifices. My service took me 200 miles above the Arctic Circle in Norway facing down Russian aggression during the Cold War, and over to the Middle East during the Global War on Terror. I salute all who served, and the families left to bear the burden in their absence.”

Randy during his military service.

Randy today.

Brian Kube, president, IBEW Local 1289 (formerly 1st Class LC&M, Berkeley Line), served in the U.S. Navy from 1980 until 1984. Brian credits the military for providing him with the necessary discipline he carries with him in his daily work responsibilities. He appreciates the company’s support of active and veteran military employees, and to him, Veterans Day is a very important reminder.

“It’s a day to always honor those who served before us and sacrificed for our freedoms.”

Brian, second from the right, is pictured alongside his fellow Navy veterans in 1981.

Brian today.

Luke Anderson, business analyst, Emergency Preparedness, serves in the Ohio Army National Guard as a staff sergeant and information technology team chief for the 237th Support Battalion. Luke recently extended his service for another six years. He joined FirstEnergy in 2012, and said his military experience gave him technical and leadership training. Luke feels FirstEnergy’s support of employees in the military is top notch.

“For me, Veterans Day is the time to pay respect to those who took an oath to defend this country.”

In the photo, Luke (r.) receives the Army Achievement Medal for his work during his unit’s annual training this year.

Sharonda Armour, Distribution instructor, Workforce Development, CS Systems, served in the U.S. Air Force as airman first class. She also served as an aircrew life support technician based in Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, N.M. Sharonda, who joined FirstEnergy in 2000, said the military provided extensive and diverse practical experience in many areas of life as well as a great education.

“Veterans Day for me is an opportunity to thank all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the Armed Forces. It’s an opportunity to remember those who have sacrificed and given their lives in the continual fight for freedom.”

Sharonda during Air Force service.​

Sharonda today.

Matt with his daughter, Giana, and son, Nikolas, in 2006.

Matt P. McAleer, line supervisor, Penn Power, served in the U.S. Army as sergeant (19K), stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. He served in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Operation Desert Storm/Operation Iraqi Freedom. He started in our Power Systems Institute program in 2008. Matt feels there are many similarities between leadership in the U.S. Army and leadership at FirstEnergy. Having his U.S. Army leadership background has given him the ability to work with crews daily.

“As a member of a large military family, Veterans Day has always been important to me and my family,” said Matt. “I have always had the conviction to honor those who have served, along with their families, and for those who have not returned home. It is a great time to reflect on how blessed we are to be American.”


Zsolt Veress is a work week manager V at Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1984 and served as a lieutenant on the USS Tarawa (LHA-1) in San Diego. During his service, Zsolt worked in the Engineering Department as the ship’s maintenance management officer. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 1990 and joined FirstEnergy in 2013.

He says his military service prepared him to be a leader in his job, and that he values the veteran community at FirstEnergy.

“I appreciate the company’s support of military men and women, especially the new Veterans & Allies Employee Business Resource Group. Veterans Day means freedom, which needs to be constantly and vigilantly preserved from generation to generation by those who are willing to serve and sacrifice as much as is needed. God bless all of them and their families.”