In a national marketing campaign, global media and technology company, Comcast recently paid tribute to several employees serving in the National Guard, and the amazing work they have been doing within their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local University Place resident, Deeva Williams, both an Xfinity Retail store Sales Representative in Tacoma and a Specialist in the Washington National Guard, is one of three such employees chosen to be featured in a video segment.
Williams was activated as a part of the Joint Task Force Steelhead mission, Washington National Guard’s COVID-19 response team. The ongoing operation is comprised of personnel from all over the region in support of mobile food distribution sites and other objectives throughout the state.
Comcast is a company with a great history of hiring and supporting the military community. “When I got my orders, my manager told me not to worry about anything, he would take care of everything for me and he did,” said Williams. “Comcast made me feel like family from the moment I moved here. They still call and check on me, just to see how I’m doing.”
With the increased demand caused by the pandemic, Williams, a Pennsylvania native now living in University Place, has supported the National Guard’s initiative at two South Sound food banks to date, Nourish and Eloise’s Cooking Pot.
Her tasks include separating incoming food and donation items, breaking them down into categories and loading the items into the trunks of cars of families in need. This includes everything from food, cases of water, toys, blankets, dog food and diapers.
According to State Public Affairs Officer, Washington National Guard, Joseph F. Siemandel, “We are just shy of processing, packaging and distributing 65 million pounds of food. We are currently in 39 locations across the state.”
The Task Force has seen a huge outpouring of gratitude from the people they serve each day. “They are beyond grateful,” said Williams. “I’ve had them cry and try to hug us — which they can’t right now. But we tell them, ‘we feel you, and we’re here for you.’ You can see the relief on their faces. There’s no better feeling than that.”
The mission has an even more personal meaning to Williams, however, who grew up in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood caring for her younger brother. “I grew up poor, basically. We were on food stamps,” she said. “There was never a, ‘oh, hey, go to the food bank down the street.’ COVID has highlighted so much of the good that people are doing in communities to reach out to those that are less fortunate.”
Before joining the National Guard shortly after graduating high school, there was a point when it was just Williams and her brother, while she worked three jobs to try and make ends meet. The National Guard gave her options that meant she would not have to leave her brother behind.
“One of the reasons I joined the military is because I wanted to make a difference for my brother and show him we could choose a different route,” said Williams. “I wanted to make him proud and set a good example.”
Comcast chose her to be involved in the marketing campaign after she filled out a survey by them making sure she was receiving support from her employer during her activation. Once they heard about her more and what supporting the community means to her, Comcast reached out to share her story even further.
“It makes me feel good about what I do and happy to work for a company, that not only does a great deal in the community themselves but highlights what our National Guard is doing,” said Williams. “I feel like they go hand and hand.”
Williams, who plans to become a registered nurse, serves in the Washington Army National Guard in A Co 181st BSB is currently activated under Joint Task Force Steelhead. Her brother, who is not so little anymore, has gone on to join the Army as an active-duty soldier, stationed at Ft. Campbell.
“The work I’m doing with the National Guard makes me feel like I’m taking care of Lil’ Deeva,” says Williams. “I’m doing a service to my younger self. I would say, ‘Lil’ Deeva would be so proud of how far I’ve come and what I’m doing in the community’.”
The commitment and selfless service of military members like Specialist Deeva Williams, and the work they do in communities across the state, as well as companies like Comcast that support their mission, is something to be proud of as they continue to serve through the COVID-19 pandemic.