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VNG employee brings safety training from work to home to help save lives

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – May 11, 2023 – CPR saves lives—just not as many as it should.

That’s because far too few Americans know how to perform it, so when people experience heart attacks or otherhealth emergencies, often there is simply no one around who knows how to help them.

Mark Young, operations supervisor with Virginia Natural Gas, wants this to change.

“It really is personal for me,” said Mark. “I had to perform CPR on a friend and when it was all over, my wife told me she wouldn’t have known what to do. I wanted to make sure she would know what to do in case something like this were to happen to her.”

Young would like not only for all employees to be trained in CPR and first aid, but also offer training to employee’s family members, friends and relatives. That’s why the energy company, at Mark’s urging, recently provided CPR training to family members so they will know what to do if a loved one, a neighbor or even if stranger collapses suddenly in front of them.

It all started last year on Memorial Day weekend when Mark and his friend John were celebrating the official start of summer.

Mark and John had been best friends since they were kids. They grew up together and went through all the ups and downs of life side by side. They were each other's confidants, support system, and everyone who knew them could see the bond they shared.

They were hanging out at Mark’s house, working on chores in the backyard while smoke billowed from the grill cooking burgers. Suddenly, John collapsed to the ground, clutching his chest and gasping for air. Mark knew something was seriously wrong and immediately had his wife call 911.

As he waited for the ambulance to arrive, Mark realized that John had stopped breathing. He knew he had to actquickly to try and save his friend's life. “Since working for Virginia Natural Gas, I’ve been trained in CPR,” said Mark. “Even though I never had to use it, I remembered all my training.”

He quickly assessed the situation and began immediately performing CPR on his 57-year-old friend. His heart racing, he frantically pumped John’s chest and breathed into his mouth. He could feel the sweat pouring down his face and his hands shaking as he desperately tried to keep his friend alive.

It was a virtually impossible task, but he had to try.

Time seemed to stand still as Mark continued to perform CPR. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the police and fire department arrived and took over.

“I did everything I could to try and save my friend’s life, but unfortunately he passed away the next day due to a heart attack,” said Mark. “At first, I felt guilty that I couldn’t save his life, but I knew I did everything I could.”

In the weeks and months that followed, something Mark’s wife said stuck with him.

“What if you weren’t here,” she told him. “I wouldn’t know what to do.”

Mark approached VNG senior leadership with his idea of providing training for the family members of employees, so they would be prepared in the event the same thing happened to them.

“They were more than supportive, and we offered two classes where two dozen people trained in the life-savingtechnique,” added Mark. “We hope that no one ever has to use this training but if they do, the life they save could be a family member, a friend or coworker.”

For more information on CPR training, visit the American Red Cross website.

About Virginia Natural Gas

Virginia Natural Gas is one of four natural gas distribution companies of Southern Company Gas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO). Virginia Natural Gas provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable natural gas service to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in southeast Virginia. Consistently ranked in the top quartile for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates, the company also has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) and the Virginia Oil and Gas Association for its safety, innovation, environmental stewardship, community outreach and educational programs, and has been named Local Distribution Company of the Year five times since 2015. The company has been ranked by its business customers as one of the most Trusted Business Partners in the utility industry according to Cogent Reports, and a Top Workplaces in Hampton Roads by Inside Business. For more information, visit and connect with the company on FacebookTwitter,  Instagram, LinkedIn and Nextdoor.

About Southern Company Gas
Southern Company Gas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), America’s premier energy company. Southern Company Gas serves approximately 4.4 million natural gas utility customers through its regulated distribution companies in four states with approximately 600,000 retail customers through its companies that market natural gas. Other nonutility businesses include investments in interstate pipelines and ownership and operation of natural gas storage facilities. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Rick DelaHaya
o: 757.616.7510 | c: 757.323.7366 | www.virginianaturalgas/pressroom