Customers With Disabilities

Verizon Pioneers: Loyalty and Fellowship through Public Service

by Employee on ‎03-07-2013 10:58 AM


Ed.’s note: Today marks the 137th anniversary of the awarding of the first telephone patent to Alexander Graham Bell. Our company owes much to Bell’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. The Verizon Pioneers are one group of former employees who work tirelessly to keep Bell’s legacy alive through community service.


Would you be surprised if I told you that Alexander Graham Bell was disappointed with his invention of the telephone?


Although the telephone is considered one of the most valuable patents in history, Bell had envisioned his invention as a hearing device, as his true dream was working with people who had hearing and speech impediments. The telephone, however, ended up being something else entirely and Bell put his dream on hold.



After the Bell Telephone Company was founded in 1877, its employees spent many years helping Bell progress the telephone into a marketable and practical tool. By the time two-way, coast-to-coast communication was established, many of the first Bell Telephone employees were retiring. To celebrate their success, they held a retirement party in 1911 and continued meeting for a reunion every year after (except during war time) all the way up to present day, forming the Telephone Pioneer organization.


The Pioneers fulfilled Bell’s dream. After electing Bell the first Honorary Member of the Telecom Pioneers in 1912, they dedicated themselves to helping those with speech and hearing disabilities in the form of community service.


Today, that service varies according to the interests of the Pioneer. Types of volunteer work includes volunteering at Easter egg hunts for deaf children, assisting with relay races at the Special Olympics, supporting education and literacy by distributing dictionaries and thesauruses at public schools, educating the public about the history of the telephone and the telecom industry by giving tours at the Virginia Telephone Museum, environmental projects, donating care packages to local shelters, and volunteering at Boys & Girls Club of America events.




What’s so special about being a Pioneer is that it bridges a connection between Verizon employees, Alexander Graham Bell and all those in the telecom industry that came before them. It’s a way to reaffirm Bell’s philosophy of helping others through public service. Any current Verizon employee or retiree can join the organization, as the Pioneers welcome anyone who has made a contribution to the telecommunications industry.




Telephone Pioneers celebrated 100 years of fellowship, loyalty and service in 2011. It is the largest industry organization that engages in volunteer work in the world today.


Check out the Verizon Pioneers website for more information.


Author’s Note: Pictures were given permission to use by and provided by Verizon Pioneer Curtis Anderson.


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