In a recent ceremony, PSEG’s Veterans Employee Business Resource Group and members of the Metropolitan Division formally dedicated our new switching station in Clifton in memory of Sgt. James Harvey II, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011. During his career with PSE&G, Harvey had served as a substation operator and division mechanic assistant in the Metropolitan Division.
Following an opening presentation of the colors by an honor guard, Health & Safety Coordinator Bridgette Reilley played Call to Colors on the trumpet. After the singing of the National Anthem by ESOC Training Instructor Simone Duncan, the program continued with a moment of silence in Harvey’s memory, after which several guest speakers paid tribute to Harvey.
“I have been amazed at how many co-workers have been touched by his life,” said Mike Butler, PSE&G lineman, U.S. Army, and chairman of IBEW Local 94’s Veterans Committee. “The outpouring of support today is a testament to James’s character.”
In their remarks, both Jack Bridges, PSE&G vice president Electric Operations and John Latka, PSE&G senior vice president Electric Transmission & Distribution, spoke of the memories of Harvey that his co-workers had shared.
“It’s worth noting that memories of Jimmy remain fresh and clear in the minds of those who had the privilege of working with him during his time with the Metro Division,” Bridges said. “Jimmy was respected for the quality of the work he did and, more importantly, for his qualities as a friend who always looked to help others.”
Latka recalled the words of one of his colleagues as representative of the high regard he was held in. “This teammate wrote ‘Jim was just a really great guy that we were lucky to have in the department. He loved his country and was so proud to be doing his part to fight for it. I’m honored to have known him for the few short years we had with him.’”
Metro Division Operations Manager Karl Wintermeyer, U.S. Navy, shared comments from Major Lou Crist, Harvey’s platoon commander. “I’m convinced his actions saved my life and at least several others in the platoon. James was a warrior. We were all indeed very blessed to have him, and he ensured we all returned home.”
The program’s final speaker, Projects & Construction Chief Lineman and combat veteran Alex Arroyo, U.S. Army, shared excerpts of Harvey’s ‘last letter,’ which deployed soldiers write in the event that anything happens to them during their tour. “… let’s not mourn my death. Let’s celebrate my life,” Harvey wrote.
Following the formal remarks, Manager Bernadette Birgler, U.S. Army Reserve, and Distribution Team Leader Shakira Maze, U.S. Air Force, unveiled the memorial plaque that will be placed on the station’s exterior, and Maze presented a framed photograph of the plaque to Harvey’s parents, Jim and Susan. Speaking for the family, Bob Harvey, Jimmy’s uncle and himself a retired PSE&G employee, thanked all in attendance and those who organized the event.
“PSE&G was a great company to work for, and what you are doing today means so much to Jim and Susan and our entire family, he said.”
PSEG Veterans President Tim Gonzalez, U.S. Marines, who served as the day’s master of ceremonies, thanked all those who worked so hard to make the dedication ceremony possible.
“This was a wonderful event, and the list of people who contributed to its success is long,” he said.
In commenting on the ceremony, PSE&G President and COO Kim Hanemann, who attended the dedication ceremony as a guest, summed up the experience up for many.
“Such an incredibly moving day and event,” she said. “So proud to be PSE&G and so grateful for Jim Harvey.”