Robert Makin, Zanesville Service Center, retired Nov. 17 after 30 years of service.
Beverly Nicholson, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired Dec. 1 after 41 years of service.
AEP River Operations
Kenneth Floyd, AEP River Operations-Paducah, retired Nov. 11 after 12 years of service.
Daniel Williams, Algiers Dockside Fleet and Repair, retired Nov. 6 after 13 years of service.
AEP Service Corporation
Vicki Martin, AEP Headquarters, retired Dec. 5 after 36 years of service.
Thomas Beatty, San Angelo Services, retired Nov. 21 after 31 years of service.
R. L. Breckenridge, Lipan Service Center, retired Dec. 1 after 36 years of service.
Sandra Burks, Abilene Storeroom, retired Dec. 19 after 29 years of service.
Jose Camacho, Port Isabel Area Office, retired Nov. 25 after 33 years of service.
Albert Salinas, Pharr North Service Center, retired Dec. 19 after 37 years of service.
Appalachian Power Company
Daniel Morrow, Mountaineer Plant, retired Nov. 21 after 35 years of service.
Terrye Barlow, Northeastern Station 1&2, retired Dec. 1 after 34 years of service.
James Barnett, Amos Plant, retired Dec. 5 after 39 years of service.
Richard Cornelius, Lieberman Power Plant, retired Nov. 21 after 42 years of service.
Rufus Gholston, Welsh Plant, retired Dec. 1 after 27 years of service.
Jeffrey Hill, Racine Hydro Plant, retired Nov. 26 after 38 years of service.
Wesley Lewis, Riverside Station, retired Dec. 21 after 44 years of service.
Jerry Lutz, Rockport Plant, retired Dec. 1 after 32 years of service.
John Newell, Riverside Station, retired Dec. 1 after 17 years of service.
Kenneth White, Gavin Plant, retired Dec. 1 after 36 years of service.
Indiana Michigan Power Company
Andrew Reid, Spy Run Service Center, retired Dec. 1 after 34 years of service.
Kentucky Power Company
Cecil Burns, Pikeville Service Center, retired Dec. 1 after 29 years of service.
Mark Jackson, Pikeville Service Center, retired Dec. 1 after 35 years of service.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma
Andrew Caldwell, Alsuma Meter and Substation, retired Nov. 14 after 13 years of service.
Bill Kongs, Tulsa General Office, retired Dec. 1 after 10 years of service.
Southwestern Electric Power Company
Milton Coulter, Gilmer Service Center, retired Nov. 1 after 26 years of service.
Steve Teichelman, Childress Service Center, retired Dec. 19 after 41 years of service.
(Story by Deborah F. White)
Veronica Scott, customer operations associate, was recently recognized by AARP Ohio for the caregiving she provides to her mother, Elvera.
Selected through AARP’s storytelling initiative, I Heart Caregivers, Scott is one of 53 family caregivers from every state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands receiving a hand-painted portrait.
Read the story below to learn more about Scott and the millions of unsung heroes who provide care for their parents, spouses and loved ones. (Story written by Kathy Keller, AARP Ohio)
* * *
November marked National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize the 40 million Americans – including 1.7 million Ohioans – who help older parents, spouses, and other loved ones live independently at home, where they want to be. The unpaid care they provide – managing medications, cooking meals, driving to appointments, performing complex medical tasks and more – is valued at more than $16.5 million in Ohio alone.
|Caregiver Veronica Scott (left) of Canal Winchester and her mother, Elvera, with the Portrait of Care oil painting that she received during a presentation at AARP.|
Veronica Scott of Canal Winchester is one of these unsung heroes, and modestly says, “Sometimes I feel like I need someone to step up and do something to help. The truth is someone is available, and that’s me.”
AARP Ohio is recognizing Ms. Scott with a Portrait of Care, an artist’s painting of her and her mother, Elvera. Selected through AARP’s storytelling initiative, I Heart Caregivers, Ms. Scott is one of 53 family caregivers from every state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands receiving a hand-painted portrait. Thousands have shared their stories on the I Heart Caregivers website.
“We want to celebrate family caregivers, spotlight their experiences of hope, love, dedication and perseverance, and elevate their stories – especially during National Family Caregivers Month,” said Michael L. Barnhart, Ph.D., who volunteers as state president for AARP Ohio, with more than 1.5 million members statewide. “This is especially important as we work to support family caregivers through public policy, education, outreach and more.”
A customer service representative for AEP for 15 years, the utility company has made it possible for Veronica to work from home for the past year so that she can continue care for her mother, Elvera, who has congestive heart failure, diabetes and kidney failure. Visit the I Heart Caregivers site to read Ms. Scott’s full caregiving story.
Supporting Family Caregivers
“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system, serving a crucial role in helping older Ohioans avoid institutional care,” said staffer Trey Addison, who is working with legislators on the Ohio Caregiver Act. “AARP is fighting for commonsense solutions to help make their big responsibilities a little bit easier.”
AARP Ohio has been working to introduce and adopt the Ohio Caregiver Act, which would:
- Recognize family caregivers when their loved ones go to the hospital and as they transition home.
- Ensure that caregivers get the information and training they need to care for their loved ones when they are discharged from the hospital or care center to return to their homes.
- Allow workplace flexibility to help family caregivers balance work and home responsibilities.
“Family caregiving is really an issue that impacts us all,” Addison concluded. “It’s not a Democrat issue. It’s not a Republican issue. It’s a family issue.”
You will soon be hearing about a new tool AEP is offering to help you take charge of your health care – it’s called Health Navigator, delivered by Castlight.
Health Navigator, available soon, is a personalized, online tool that is available to AEP employees and pre-65 retirees who are enrolled in an AEP medical plan administered by Anthem. Via your laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet or by phone, this tool provides the information you need to make decisions to help you make the most of your health care dollars.
You can learn more about Health Navigator today! Go to www.mycastlight.com/AEPHealthNavigator or download the mobile app at www.mycastlight.com/mobile. Have questions? Call a Castlight Guide at 1-866-259-4428.
Take charge of your health care today with Health Navigator delivered by Castlight.
Employees and pre-65 retirees recently participated in the annual enrollment process for 2016 insurance benefits. In the next several weeks, employees and pre-65 retirees will receive information that is essential to using their new medical plans.
Please review the list below of frequently asked questions as you prepare to use your medical benefits. You can also visit the AEP Health Hub to access detailed information on our plan offerings and a new section, Plug In to Benefit, that will become available January 1.
Q: When can I expect to receive my new insurance and/or healthcare account cards?
A: Medical ID cards are currently being generated by Anthem and will be mailed near the end of December. Beginning January 1, 2016, you will be able to register as a member at www.Anthem.com , which will provide you with electronic access to your (printable) ID card. Healthcare providers can contact Anthem at any time to verify your 2016 medical benefits coverage.
If you elected a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account with HealthEquity, you can anticipate receiving your welcome kit and debit card(s) prior to January 1.
Be sure to present your new insurance identification when you visit a doctor or pharmacy, so that they can update your insurance information.
Q: My doctor is not within the Anthem network. What are my options?
A: AEP’s partnership with Anthem provides access to one of the largest networks of doctors and hospitals in the country. Click here to verify that your providers are considered in-network with Anthem.
In case that your doctor does not participate in the Anthem Network, you have a few options to consider:
- Under certain circumstances, you may qualify for Transition Assistance, which allows members to continue to see a doctor who is out-of-network with Anthem, while only paying in-network charges (for a period of time). Qualification is based on your course of treatment for a serious health condition; however, it can include conditions such as pregnancy, cancer, behavioral health, terminal illness, etc. Completion of a Continuation of Care form is required and can be obtained by contacting Anthem at 877-585-9572.
- The AEP medical plans provide for access to out-of-network providers. If you choose to see an out-of-network doctor, the charges associated with your visit and your financial responsibility for those charges will be higher than if you access a doctor within the Anthem network. See the detailed benefit plan descriptions for coverage information regarding out-of-network doctors.
- You can nominate your doctor for participation in the Anthem network by contacting Anthem at 877-585-9572. Anthem will contact your doctor to discuss the possibility of joining the Anthem network. This process may take between weeks or months, and there is no guarantee that your doctor will become an in-network provider.
NOTE: Individuals currently seeking behavioral services should confirm your doctor’s network status with Magellan beginning Jan. 1, 2016. If your current doctor does not participate in Magellan’s network, you can receive a Transition Benefit, which enables you to receive in-network coverage for your current doctor for up to 90 days. This will enable you to transition to an in-network doctor. To check on your doctor’s network status and to register your current care for the Transition Benefit, contact Magellan at 877-705-4357.
Q: I currently have an Aetna medical plan and have been speaking with a Health Advocate/Coach to help me manage my health condition. How can I go about finding someone similar with Anthem?
A: If you currently interact with a Health Advocate associated with Aetna, you have the opportunity to continue support with an Anthem Registered Nurse. That nurse may provide support with the management of a chronic condition or assistance with understanding what to expect if you spend time in the hospital. In January, Anthem will be reaching out to all employees who currently interact with a Health Advocate to explain the support available to you. Additionally, you may reach out to Anthem any time after January 1 and ask to be connected to a Registered Nurse.
Q: How do I get access to the Health Navigator that I heard about during the benefit meetings?
A: Health Navigator is an online tool that lets you track your medical spending, and helps you shop for medical services, prescriptions, and providers in your network. Health Navigator is provided free of charge to all employees, their spouses/domestic partners, and adult dependents enrolled in a company medical plan and will be available beginning January 2016. Pre-register today at MyCastlight.com.
AEP cares about the safety, health and well-being of its employees. All employees are invited to share their stories about the changes they are making to live healthier lives. This “Wellness Journey” is from Dave Waitkus, communications consultant principal at the AEP headquarters building in Columbus. These articles represent only the views and opinions of the employee and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of AEP.
Where I was and how I got there:
“You cannot out train a bad diet.”
That sign hanging in the Fitness Center at the AEP headquarters building haunted me for three years. I knew it was talking to me, but I continued to deny it. After all, I was the “Ironman,” the “Diesel,” I had completed 13 full marathons, over 100 triathlons, two 100-mile bike rides and countless half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks over the past 17 years. But it was true. I was still trying to out train a bad diet, and it was no longer working.
|Each year, I was competing at a heavier and heavier weight, and it was taking a toll on my body, especially my knees.|
Each year as I got a little older and my knees hurt a little more, my activity level inched down and my weight had inched up…and so had all my critical health indicators – cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, etc. But all I needed to do was keep running, cycling, skiing, swimming, golfing and walking, right?
“You cannot out train a bad diet.”
OK, so maybe I was eating a little too late at night when I swam my laps after work, and maybe I did like to snack a bit while watching a ball game, no big deal, right? And those beers and chicken wings after golfing on Thursday nights, and that wine on Friday and Saturday…I’ll work that off Monday and Tuesday.
And then came April 13.
Before you get too excited, no, I did not have a heart attack or stroke. I simply went to the doctor’s office for my annual physical and blood test. The results came back and I was informed that I was obese, had very high cholesterol, low HDL (good cholesterol), very high LDL (bad cholesterol), high triglycerides, was pre-diabetic and had borderline high blood pressure. The doc immediately wanted to put me on medication to lower my cholesterol.
WHAT? ME? Yep, the Diesel was now a full-blown garbage truck, and the Ironman was headed for the scrap heap.
My turning point:
Thankfully, in addition to the wake-up call from the doctor, my co-workers had been talking to me about “The Evils of Sugar” and a movie called “Fed Up.” Fed Up is a 2014 American documentary film that focuses on the causes of obesity in the U.S., presenting evidence showing that the large quantities of sugar in processed foods are an overlooked root of the problem, and points to the monied lobbying power of “Big Sugar” in blocking attempts to enact policies to address the issue.
In the movie, Katie Couric had set out to do a story about some young adults who were already pre-diabetic. But the more she talked to doctors and nutritionists, the more she discovered that excess sugar in our food, processed foods and fast foods are crippling our nation, and the food industry is responsible. For example, when the “fat free” craze began, companies realized that foods didn’t taste good without the fat, so they replaced it with massive amounts of sugar. In addition, today’s advertising is designed to get us hooked on sugar and processed food products as small children and keep us addicted for the rest of our lives. And each time a senator or other elected official has tried to halt or reverse the trend, the food and sugar lobbies have squelched their efforts.
So my co-worker came to me and said, “You said you try to eat healthy all the time. What do you eat for breakfast?” My answer was orange juice, a banana, breakfast bar with coffee and one packet of instant oatmeal when I arrived at work. All healthy stuff, right? She informed me that I was consuming about 75 grams of sugar each morning in those five items alone, and that a healthy adult should consume no more than 24 grams of sugar PER DAY.
Lunch? Turkey sandwich on thin bread with cheese, pickle and mustard, carrots, small cup of cinnamon applesauce and diet soda. Deli meat = horrible; bread = more sugar; cheese = horrible; applesauce = another 22 grams of sugar; diet soda = almost worse than regular sugar-sweetened soda. Oh by the way, folks, that 20-oz. bottle of Coke has 65 grams of sugar in it, Mountain Dew has 77. That Gatorade I was guzzling during my races has 34 grams of sugar in 20 ozs. And parents, take a look at the sugar in those juice boxes you are giving your children, in addition to the Happy Meals, seemingly healthy breakfast cereals, etc.
She also informed me about something I already knew as an Emergency Medical Technician and athlete – that when you exercise, the body goes looking for sugar first. Well, I had PLENTY of it in my system every day, so all I was doing with my excessive workouts was burning off excess sugar and never even getting close to the fat that had accumulated around my midsection.
|My advice is that all of us need to become better informed food consumers. Take the time to read those labels and try to eat as many natural products as you can.|
“You cannot out train a bad diet.”
Fast forward to today. Using my newfound knowledge and incorporating the well-disciplined exercise program I already had in place, I screamed, “Be gone, ye sugar devil!” My weight dropped from 257 on April 13 to 213 October 13. My cholesterol went from 261 to 210, good cholesterol skyrocketed, bad cholesterol plummeted, my blood pressure is normal and so is my glucose. My doctor was amazed and impressed.
All it took was some knowledge, discipline and a solid exercise program. In my four triathlon races this summer, my running times went from 11 minutes per mile back to a near respectable 9:44 per mile. And when I commented to my wife that riding my bike to work was not such a chore this summer, she said, “HELLO! You no longer have that 45-pound weight around your middle!”
So, my advice is that all of us need to become better informed consumers. Take the time to read those labels, try to eat as many “natural” products as you can (cage-free chicken eggs, grass-fed beef, etc.), throw out those sugar-filled soft drinks, juice boxes, sweets and processed food products, avoid fast foods as much as possible and keep exercising. I try to walk every day, swim three times a week, park way out from the stores to get those extra steps in and take the stairs whenever possible. And for those who say that their metabolism is too slow for them to lose weight or burn calories due to their age, I say, “Bunk!” I turned 58 November 13 and I’m not working out anywhere near what I used to as a younger Diesel, but I was still able to lose the weight and keep it off.
We may not be able to out train a bad diet, but we all can out think one.
Do you have a wellness journey you’d like to share? Your story can be about weight loss, overcoming an illness, maintaining good health habits or some other health-related topic. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|While this statue of a big buck watches over downtown Columbus, AEP employees are reminded that deer are on the move this time of year, even in urban areas. In the background is the AEP headquarters building.|
(Story by Ann Marie Keifer)
This is the time of year when deer are out roaming around, and it’s not just in rural areas.
Deer cause thousands of vehicle accidents every year. Deer will cross roads at any time of day or night, creating a hazard for the vehicles, passengers and the deer. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, here are some driving tips to help prevent collisions:
- Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. Be especially watchful during these times.
- One deer crossing the road may be a sign that more deer are about to cross. Watch for other deer— they will move fast to catch up with leaders, mothers or mates and may not pay attention to traffic.
- When you see brake lights, it could be because the driver ahead of you has spotted a deer. Stay alert as you drive by the spot, as more deer could try to cross.
- Wonder why the person ahead is driving so slowly? The driver may know where to slow down and be extra alert for deer. Don’t be too quick to pass and be alert.
- Take note of deer-crossing signs and drive accordingly. They were put there for a reason.
- Try to drive more slowly at night, giving yourself time to see a deer with your headlights. Lowering the brightness of your dashboard lights slightly will make it easier to see deer.
- Be especially watchful when traveling near steep roadside banks. Deer will pop onto the roadway with little or no warning.
- Be aware that headlights confuse deer and may cause them to move erratically or stop. Young animals in particular do not recognize that vehicles are a threat.
- Deer hooves slip on pavement and a deer may fall in front of your vehicle just when you think it is jumping away.
If a collision with a deer seems imminent, take your foot off the accelerator and brake lightly. However, it’s important to keep a firm hold on the steering wheel while keeping the vehicle straight. Do not swerve in an attempt to miss the deer. Insurance adjusters claim that more car damage and personal injury is caused when drivers attempt to avoid collision with a deer and instead collide with guardrails or roll down grades.
John Vaughan, retired president and chief operating office of Appalachian Power Company, passed away Tuesday morning at his home. He was 90 years old.
Vaughan joined the AEP system in June 1947 and retired in December 1989. AEP’s Vaughan Center in Roanoke, Va., was named in his honor.
Visitation is at Oakey’s South Chapel, 4257 Brambleton Ave., Roanoke, Va., Friday, December 11, from 4–6 p.m. A memorial service will be held at noon, Saturday, December 12, at the Oakey’s South Chapel with burial to follow at Fair View Cemetery in Roanoke.
|IT employee Rick Dorman with one of the posters outlining stroke symptoms at 1 Riverside Plaza.
Photo by: Ken Drenten
Rick Dorman, IT software developer lead, has seen and read a lot of posters for a variety of health and safety messages in his 12 years of working at AEP.
One of those posters he remembers seeing, outlining the symptoms of a stroke, may have saved his life.
Driving to work in Columbus on September 21, he suddenly felt “a numbness, a tingly feeling, then an instant headache, and blurred vision,” he said.
|WARNING SIGNS OF STROKE
Act fast if you experience or see any of these symptoms:
Immediately he recognized the signs of a stroke. “I know it was a stroke, because I had seen posters identifying the warning signs of stroke at AEP, so I knew what the symptoms were,” he said. “And I knew what to do.”
When the sensations came over him, he was within sight of Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, so he drove himself up to the emergency room entrance and walked in. “It was funny, though, because I tried to walk in a straight line, but I kept veering off in one direction — I couldn’t walk straight.”
Medical personnel at the ER recognized his speech was slurred as well, and began immediate treatment. Fortunately, his hospital stay was brief and the effects of his stroke were minimal.
The next day, as Dorman was in his hospital room, the head neurologist told him that if Dorman had not gotten medical treatment as quickly as he did, his results might not have been what they were. He attributes that to the posters he saw outlining stroke symptoms.
Since that day, he has taken steps to reduce his risk of another stroke. He stopped smoking, began exercising on a stationary bicycle for a half-hour a day, changed his diet, is taking blood pressure medication and is on a daily low-dose aspirin regimen. “It’s just common sense stuff, really,” he said. “I’m a lot more aware of what I’m doing.”
“Take a few moments and read these signs,” he said. “The life they save might be yours.”
Here’s how to view your 2016 benefit elections:
- After logging in to the AEP Benefit Center website, select the “Health” tab.
- Select “Current Coverages.”
- Scroll to the very bottom of the Current Coverages page, to the section titled “Your Future Coverages.”
- Under “Your Future Coverages,” click on the magnifying glass in the far left column, under “View.” (Do not click on “Continue.”)
- A new page will open that will list your 2016 benefit elections.
All employees and pre-65 retirees will soon receive enrollment confirmation statements by email or postal mail (mailing date is pending), depending on whether a benefits email address was selected via HR Now. Since this was an active enrollment, confirmation statements will be sent to all employees and pre-65 retirees, whether or not they made benefit election changes during Annual Enrollment.
Post-65 retirees will only receive enrollment confirmation statements if changes were made for 2016; however, 2016 elections can be reviewed at any time on the website by following the steps above. For those post-65 retirees that made changes for 2016, all confirmation statements will be sent via postal mail (mailing date is pending).
Please review the record of your 2016 benefit elections carefully for accuracy. If you find a discrepancy, please contact the AEP Benefits Center (1-888-237-2363, option 1 or 2 and then option 2) immediately.
|Todd Asbury, line mechanic A in Tazewell, Va., reads to students at North Tazewell Elementary in the same classroom where he attended second grade. Asbury remains active in the community in which he was raised, and some of the school’s students play on youth sports teams he coaches. Photo by Phil Moye.|
(Story by Teresa Hall and Allison Barker)
It’s not just words but pictures that convey the positive energy and goodwill that were generated on Read to Me Day. This year, more than 300 Appalachian Power employees and retirees signed up to participate in the annual event, which left a lasting impression across the company’s service territory.
This year, volunteer readers read aloud to students at 423 elementary schools across Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, reaching at least 17,000 students Nov. 19.
Employees and retirees read “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” by William Joyce. The book is based on the 2011 Academy Award winning short film, which also was written and co-directed by Joyce. Readers visited two or more classrooms at each school and then donated the book to the school’s library.
The company began its Read to Me Day program in West Virginia in 2001 and expanded to Virginia and Tennessee in 2012. Since its inception, Appalachian Power has donated nearly 5,000 books to school libraries and read aloud to more than 200,000 students.
“Our Read to Me Day school partnership is a great way for our employees to be involved in communities where they live and work,” said Jeri Matheney, Appalachian spokesperson. “It’s also an opportunity for us to emphasize the important role that reading plays in education and careers.”
|Richard Hess, a field revenue specialist in Ashland, Ky., reads to second graders at Olive Hill Elementary School in Carter County on Read to Me Day 2015. Kentucky Power has participated in the annual community event since 2003 in an effort to support local schools and promote the importance of reading.|
Kentucky Power employees read to area schools on Read to Me Day
Kentucky Power employees celebrated Read to Me Day Nov. 20 by reading a book aloud with students at 10 elementary schools in Carter, Lawrence, Martin and Perry counties.
About 30 volunteer readers read “When Charlie McButton Lost Power” by Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games series. Readers visit two or more classrooms at each school, and then donate the book.
The company began its Read to Me Day program in Kentucky in 2003. Since that first day in 2001, Kentucky Power has donated thousands of books to schools and read aloud to thousands of students.
“Our employees tell us Read to Me Day is one of their favorite experiences they have representing the company in the community,” said Allison Barker, Kentucky Power corporate communications manager and Read to Me Day coordinator. “Not only does Read to Me Day represent a great community partnership, but also it allows us to show our support of education and the importance of reading.”
Each year, Kentucky Power employees visit different elementary schools in the utility’s service territory in eastern Kentucky. This year’s schools included Carter City and Heritage in Grayson; Olive Hill; Holy Family; Blaine; Louisa East and Louisa West in Louisa; Warfield, Chavies and Leatherwood.
Brent Tackett, line crew supervisor in Ashland, said he enjoys the kids’ questions as much as reading. He visited Olive Hill Elementary this year.
“You never know what they’ll ask,” he said. “This year while talking about how we generate electricity at a power plant, one boy asked, ‘How does an electric plant grow?’ He thought it grew in the ground like a garden plant.”
For Stephen Blankenship, a DDC coordinator in Ashland, Read to Me Day allows him to share his love of reading to his own four daughters with other children. This year, his 12-year-old accompanied him to Carter City Elementary.
“I really enjoy Read to Me Day,” Blankenship said. “Reading has always been important to me.”