Columbia Gas names 2021 and 2022 Volunteers of the Year


PORTSMOUTH- On April 18, Columbia Gas of Ohio celebrated team members’ volunteerism and awarded the 2021-22 Volunteers of the Year during an award ceremony and luncheon. In line with the Columbia Gas vision to be a trusted energy partner, the Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes a team member dedicated to uplifting their community through volunteerism.

The 2021 and 2022 Columbia Gas of Ohio Volunteers of the Year are Chris Swords, field and service tech, and Carol Blackburn, senior work coordinator, respectively.

“It’s these team members who make Columbia Gas such a wonderful place to work,” said Columbia Gas of Ohio President Vince Parisi. “Their volunteer work also makes Ohio a better place to live, and we’re proud to name our 2021 and 2022 Volunteers of the Year and recognize all of our team members who give back.”

Swords, 2021 Volunteer of the Year, is a volunteer firefighter at Rosemount Fire Department and an auxiliary deputy sheriff in Pike County. He also volunteers with Life Point Church in Portsmouth. Through the church, Swords and his family refurbish and paint local parks and playground equipment, supporting area children by clothing and mentoring them. He enjoys watching his family, including his seven children, as they discover their passion for volunteer work.

2022 Volunteer of the Year Blackburn is passionate about the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RMHC). Blackburn leads pop tab donations and participates in Columbia Gas’ Big Give, during which team members donate toys and gift cards to children and teens benefiting from RMHC services. Blackburn says she enjoys helping her community and passing those values to her children.

As part of the award, the NiSource Charitable Foundation will donate $5,000 to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio in Blackburn’s name and Friends of Scioto CASA in Swords’ name. They will also be recognized at an upcoming Columbus Clippers game with the opportunity to throw out the first pitch.

Columbia Gas of Ohio delivers clean, affordable and efficient natural gas to approximately 1.4 million customers across the state. With headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, it is the largest natural gas utility in Ohio and one of NiSource’s six regulated utility companies. NiSource (NYSE: NI) is one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.2 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across six states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. More information about Columbia Gas of Ohio and NiSource is available at and

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