Byrd pays it forward

Published 9:41 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2019

It doesn’t seem like it’s possible to tell Suffolk’s Tonya Denise Byrd to slow down.

Byrd works for Dominion Energy and volunteers with numerous organizations, so much so that she recently was recognized with a prestigious company award for volunteerism.

She does this in addition to being a wife and a mother — a mother of twins, no less.

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She may be one of those people that others look at and think, “Is there anything she can’t do?”

Byrd was recognized with the annual Benjamin J. Lambert III Volunteer of the Year award within Dominion, named in honor of Lambert in 2014 in recognition of his decades of service to the community as a member of the Virginia General Assembly and member of the Dominion Energy Board of Directors.

Byrd has her own long resume of volunteerism.

She participates with the African American Resource Group, one of several employee resource groups the company has for employees from underrepresented groups. She was the community focus chair and now is the vice chair. The group does a lot of volunteerism of its own, especially with local school students.

In 2018, Byrd also worked to bring the United Negro College Fund Mayor’s Masked Ball to the Hampton Roads area. The organization raises millions of dollars for students who can’t afford to go to school. She was on the inaugural planning committee and is co-chair for the 2020 event.

She’s also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority’s Lambda Omega chapter in Newport News and does a number of projects through the sorority. She has mentored students, volunteered at soup kitchens, collected bookbags and more.

As one of the six winners of the Lambert award, Byrd chose to direct her $5,000 donation for the award to a scholarship fund she and other women she pledged with created at Howard University.

Byrd believes it’s important to volunteer because she gets to “pay it forward” for those who helped her when she was a young woman. She also believes it’s important to help those who have less, whether it’s by giving money or time or talent or efforts.

Suffolk is indeed fortunate to have a woman like Tonya Byrd in our midst.