Jefferson Lab
On Target (November & December 1996)
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    Making a Difference

    Some may know Tom Jeffords for his passion for recycling. His efforts have enabled him to contribute $500 towards Laboratory recreation events. But others know him for being a jack-of-trades and a Jefferson Lab historian all in one.

    He began his career at Jefferson Lab 10 years ago when there were only 100 employees and VARC was the only administrative building on site. Jeffords has been a witness to the growth and prosperity of the Laboratory, and even considers it and the employees to be like a family to him.

    "I've known many people at Jefferson Lab for a long time," says Jeffords. "I enjoy people and I value relationships."

    Jeffords cherishes his first experiences here including being escorted around to meet the Director Hermann Grunder as well as all Laboratory employees.

    Jeffords' responsibilities during his first position as a watchman included locking the VARC building at night and taking down and putting up the flags. His duties later grew to include cutting the grass, moving furniture, setting up rooms for meetings and conferences, and making small repairs around the site. In his current position as senior tradesman, Jeffords supervises the maintenance of the government vehicles, evaluates some contractual services, checks meters and gauges on-site for temperature, pressure and chemical levels; and helps to move heavy equipment.

    Jeffords' role in the growth and appearance of the Laboratory has been steady. Jeffords says he has helped clear land for several buildings and has cut more grass on site than at his own home. But Jeffords says he doesn't mind. "In the early years, I did most of the grass cutting myself because I like outdoor work," says Jeffords. "I think it is important to have attractive landscaping because it demonstrates pride in our facility."

    Jeffords is known around the site to have a green thumb - a trait he traces back to his days in the military. "While living on a military base, I won the 'Most Attractive House' award for several years because of the appearance of my yard," says Jeffords. His love of the outdoors and horticulture followed him to Jefferson Lab where, over the years, he has planted trees in support of Arbor Day, 3,000 daffodils, and at one time, a small fruit orchard.

    Jeffords' support for the environment can also be seen through his recycling efforts. He created a program that earns money for the Jefferson Activities Group (JAG), which coordinates Laboratory recreation events. He increased the number of recycling bins on-site and placed them in centralized locations. Jeffords encourages employees to recycle their aluminum drink cans. The cans are then collected, smashed and taken to a recycling site.

    Jeffords uses his lunch hour to collect and crush cans. He usually takes the cans to the recycling site on the weekend. He recycles an average of 250 to 500-pounds of aluminum cans a month.

    "I have always believed in not wasting and in making things more efficient and effective," says Jeffords. "Recycling is just one way we can do those things, and it earns money for the Laboratory at the same time."

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