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AEP Announces Participation in Army PaYS Program

Nick Akins signs a participation agreement for AEP in the Army PaYS program while looking on are (left to right): Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Lt. Col. Clydellia Prichard-Allen, and U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty.

Photo by: Caitlin Sadler

Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, put his signature on an agreement to participate in the U.S. Army Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS), in a ceremony held January 18 at AEP Headquarters. The program is designed to accelerate the transition of veterans to careers in the private sector.

Through the program, active and reserve servicemen and women in the Army and Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) are identified by their skills and matched with civilian job opportunities that require those skills. Soldiers who qualify with a skills match are guaranteed an interview for the job by participating companies.

AEP revealed its plans during the signing ceremony that was also attended by AEP employees, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty and U.S. Army Lt. Col. Clydellia S. Prichard-Allen.

“AEP has a long history of being involved with the military. We are proud to honor the sacrifices veterans make to serve our country, and one of the best ways we do that is by helping them transition to a rewarding career with us,” said Akins. “Veterans are skilled, team-oriented, motivated and safety-conscious — traits that help AEP become what we aspire to be: the country’s premier regulated energy company.”

Since Army PaYS began in 2000, more than 500 employers have partnered with the program; AEP is the 602nd employer to join. During the enlistment process, soldiers begin establishing a relationship with companies for which they are interested in working. Those who qualify will then be granted an interview at the company of their choice upon leaving military service. This program does not guarantee employment, but it does help new veterans clear the often-daunting first hurdle to starting a career: getting a foot in the door.

Veterans come to AEP because, as employees, they continue to serve our national security interests by delivering safe, reliable electricity to fuel our homes and power our economy, Akins said. “No question, there is a natural flow from a military career to a career in distribution or transmission  . . . we are very proud to be involved in helping servicemen and women make that transition and find a place at AEP.” Approximately 11 percent of AEP’s workforce is composed of military veterans.

Stivers, who serves in the Ohio Army National Guard, including active-duty deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom, commended AEP for its actions. “This commitment by AEP is a great business decision,” he said. “Military veterans return to civilian life skilled, smart, and they understand what teamwork means.”

Beatty, who presented a Congressional resolution to Akins commending AEP on the new partnership, said, “We all have a duty to serve. We all stand on someone else’s shoulders. This is a great partnership that proves that by working together, we can help prepare our youth for success in the future.”

Taylor noted that there are 900,000 military veterans and active-duty servicemen and women in Ohio, the sixth largest such contingent in the U.S. She said while attending a recent deployment ceremony for an Ohio National Guard unit leaving for an overseas peacekeeping mission, she observed two things. “First, I saw from their faces how very young these men and women are — some are only 19 years old,” she said. “But what I also saw in their faces was their determination and commitment to serve our country and represent us well. Returning veterans have these attributes, along with the skills and training they need to be successful in their post-military careers.”

Lt. Col. Prichard-Allen, the Army’s recruiting commander for the central Ohio area, noted that the PaYS program also provides a valuable database of prospective job candidates for businesses’ talent pools.

AEP has received national recognition for its veteran employment practices with 14 years of being designated a Top Military-Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs magazine, most recently in November 2016. AEP provides paid leave for employees in the Reserves or National Guard who are ordered to active duty in emergency situations. AEP was one of six energy companies to develop the Troops to Energy Jobs initiative to provide veterans with a career roadmap for jobs in the energy industry. The company also is a member of the Veteran Jobs Mission, a coalition of more than 230 companies committed to hiring military veterans.

To support the 1,873 military veterans who already work at AEP, the company sponsors the Military Veteran Employee Resource Group (MVERG), with members in Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. MVERG’s mission is to promote the roles and contributions of veterans and active-duty military employees, provide professional development and networking opportunities for our members and serve as a liaison between AEP and the veteran and military communities.

Obituaries

AEP Service Corporation

Timothy Clarke, 54, AEP Headquarters, died December 23.

James Gilbert, 90, retired, AEP Headquarters, died December 8.

Joan Stanford, 74, AEP Headquarters, died November 30.

Leonard Zawodniak, 83, retired, AEP Headquarters, died December 9.

Appalachian Power Company

Frances Harville, 67, Roanoke Main Office, died December 25.

Edgar Hoffman, 102, retired, North Charleston Service Center, died December 20.

Glenn O’Neal, 73, retired, Bluefield (W.Va.) Service Center, died December 15.

Nancy Smith, 72, retired, Amos Plant, died December 3.

James Tapley, 94, retired, Bb&T Building, died December 4.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Jill Everly, 63, Conesville Plant, died December 27.

Billy Green, 85, retired, Hillsboro Service Center, died December 8.

Robert Happ, 78, retired, Columbus Northeast Service Center, died November 25.

Robert Jones, 89, retired, 850 Tech Center, died December 14.

Dean Snider, 79, retired, Conesville Plant, died November 18.

William Stevens, 75, retired, Chillicothe Fleet Management, died December 3.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

John Brumbaugh, 93, retired, Elkhart Service Center, died December 16.

James Everhart, 92, retired, Marion Office, died December 6.

Clifford Falls, 88, retired, One Summit Square, died December 7.

Ronald Germain, 85, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died December 1.

Cleora Kurzhal, 85, retired, South Bend Office, died December 4.

Patty O’Brien, 86, retired, Elkhart Service Center, died December 11.

Dale Parish, 84, retired, One Summit Square, died December 12.

Kentucky Power Company

Daniel Burke, 73, Big Sandy Plant, died December 16.

Alger Combs, 74, retired, Hazard Service Center, died December 5.

Ohio Power Company

Donald Atkinson, 88, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died December 6.

Donald Criblez, 88, retired, Findlay Service Center, died December 17.

James Koonce, 86, retired, Mitchell Plant, died December 8.

Robert Ward, 70, Mitchell Plant, died November 4.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Loyd Dickey, 76, retired, Tulsa General Office, died December 2.

Oral Newell, 85, retired, Tulsa General Office, died December 27.

Euell Temple, 97, retired, Tulsa General Office, died December 13.

James Warkentin, 81, retired, Tulsa General Office, died December 26.

Alex Wilson, 96, retired, Tulsa General Office, died December 8.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Autry Basham, 93, retired, Shreveport General Office, died December 25.

Danny Lumpkin, 64, Dolet Hills Lignite Mine, died December 8.

Richard Milligan, 62, Shreveport Office, died July 27, 2014.

Texas Central

Donald Ball, 85, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died December 1.

Oscar Fernandez, 63, Central Shops, died December 11.

Florine Gupton, 92, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died December 22.

Jack Herndon, 71, Corpus Christi Office, died December 3.

Roman Perez, 92, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died December 26.

Walter Reid, 88, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died December 14.

Texas North

Raul Garcia, 68, Abilene Meter Services, died December 2.

Sherwyn McNair, 93, retired, Abilene General Office, died November 30.

Transmission

Walter Camper, 62, John W. Vaughan Center, died December 28.

Timothy Ireland, 57, Tulsa General Office, died December 9.

December Retirements

AEP Ohio

David Simpson, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired December 3 after 32 years of service.

AEP River Transportation Division

Samuel Smith, River Transportation Division, retired December 5 after 26 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Rich Munczinski, AEP Headquarters, retired December 31 after 38 years of service.

AEP Texas

Ruben Garza, Corpus Christi Office, retired December 31 after 46 years of service.

Monroe Jauer, Corpus Christi Office, retired December 10 after 30 years of service.

Ricardo Rangel, Southwest Distribution System-San Angelo, retired December 31 after 45 years of service.

Kenneth Reger, Pharr North Service Center, retired December 31 after 44 years of service.

Delia Young, Corpus Christi Office, retired December 31 after 35 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

William Gammon, John W. Vaughan Center, retired December 31 after 27 years of service.

Philip Laughery, North Charleston Service Center, retired December 1 after 36 years of service.

Trudy Rockel, Milton Service Center, retired December 17 after 26 years of service.

Generation

Gregory Border, Conesville Plant, retired December 31 after 37 years of service.

Daniel MacDougall, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired December 31 after 14 years of service.

Glenda Murray, Rockport Plant, retired December 30 after 29 years of service.

Anthony Pletcher, Mitchell Plant, retired December 20 after 35 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company

Greg Pauley, Kentucky State Office, retired December 9 after 42 years of service.

Bluefield Employee Awarded Chairman’s Life Saving Award

Bob Powers (left) presented Bluefield IT Telecom employee Bernie Maynard with the AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award in December.

(Story by Teresa Hall)

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Bernie Maynard said he only did what he hoped anyone would do if one of his family members were in a similar situation. After witnessing a car crash, the Bluefield IT Telecom employee put everything aside to help the victims and for his selfless actions recently received AEP’s most prestigious life saving award.

Maynard is still humble when he recounts the events that unfolded in December 2015. Maynard was on his way to a job site when in his rearview mirror he spotted a car careening into the median and flipping on its top.

Maynard didn’t know it at the time, but one of the victims was the young grandson of fellow Appalachian Power employee Dave Andrews.  While Maynard has continued to downplay his role that day, Andrews and Maynard’s IT Telecom co-workers refer to Maynard as a hero.

Last month, AEP Vice Chairman Bob Powers traveled to Bluefield to present Maynard with the AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award. Giving out the Chairman’s awards “is absolutely the funnest thing and proudest thing I get to do as an AEP executive,” Powers said as he praised Maynard’s actions before a group of co-workers, family and friends who had secretly gathered at the Bluefield Service Center to surprise Maynard.

“We’re a remarkable group of people at AEP, and there are some remarkable stories out there, and Bernie’s story is one of those,” Powers said.

After witnessing the crash, Maynard called 911 and turned back to the crash site. When he parked, Maynard saw that other Good Samaritans had stopped to assist. The driver had climbed out of the car, but her three-year-old grandson, Wyatt, was in the back still strapped in his car seat. When the car flipped, the impact jammed the car’s rear doors.

After several unsuccessful attempts to get the rear doors open, Maynard ran back to his company truck to grab a hammer to break the window. As he hammered away at the window, the others who’d gathered were continuing to try to pry the door open on the other side and finally got it open enough to pull the little boy to safety.

Less than 30 seconds later, Maynard said the car burst into flames. “You could see that smoke was starting to roll out and people were yelling to get away,” Maynard said. “As soon as we got away, there were 10-foot flames coming out from the front of the vehicle.”

Just seconds after Bernie Maynard and several others pulled a 3-year-old from the wreck, the car burst into flames. Photo courtesy of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

Maynard’s wife, Sarah, and young daughter, Paisley, were among those who surprised Maynard by showing up to see him receive the company’s highest safety honor. His colleagues, including Maynard’s boss, Bluefield IT Telecom Manager Gene Davis, who submitted Maynard for the Others’ Keeper Award, were also in the room.

But it was little Wyatt’s presence, along with his grandfather, Dave Andrews, that brought tears to the eyes of many in the room when Andrews spoke.

“Bernie’s a hero to me,” Andrews said. “I can’t thank him enough for what he did. You cared enough to stop to help and for that my family and I will always be grateful.”

Akins Receives EEI’s ‘Distinguished Leadership Award’ for His Dedication and Service to the Electric Power Industry

AEP CEO Nick Akins (second from right) receives the Edison Electric Institute’s Distinguished Leadership Award Jan. 11 in Palm Beach, Fla. Looking on (from left) are: Tom Farrell, Dominion Resources chairman, president and CEO; Tony Earley, PG&E Corporation chairman, president and CEO; and Donna Akins, Nick Akins’ wife.

Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer, Jan. 11 was awarded the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) Distinguished Leadership Award by his industry peers for his years of significant contributions and commitment to the electric power industry.

“We are pleased to present this award to Nick Akins in recognition of his outstanding leadership and dedication to the electric power industry,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “AEP and our industry are in the midst of a major transformation, and Nick is focused on delivering the energy future customers want and expect.”

“Nick is a leader of the highest character, and I am grateful for his service and commitment to our industry as past chairman of EEI and for his continued involvement and engagement as we navigate our industry’s ongoing transition,” said EEI Chairman Tom Fanning, chairman, president and CEO of Southern Company.

The award, established to recognize outstanding individual achievement, was presented during EEI’s winter CEO and board of directors meeting in Palm Beach, Fla. Akins is the ninth industry CEO to receive the award.

Akins was elected president of AEP in December 2010, CEO in October 2011, and chairman in December 2013. Prior to being elected president of AEP, he served as executive vice president of Generation from 2006 until 2010, and was president and COO for the AEP-owned Southwestern Electric Power Company from 2004 until 2006. Prior to this, Akins served as vice president of Energy Marketing Services and vice president of Industry Restructuring for AEP. He began his tenure with the company in 1982. Akins served as EEI chairman from June 2015 until June 2016, and is currently on EEI’s executive committee.

Among his many accomplishments, Akins led the industry’s efforts to develop and implement the framework for the National Response Event (NRE), a coordinated, industry-wide and enhanced mutual assistance response to a large-scale outage event impacting several regions of the country. As EEI chairman, Akins created a strategic vision for the industry that is focused on grid modernization, clean energy and customer solutions.

“Changes in our industry are being driven by innovation and evolving customer expectations, and Nick has played a major role in how our industry is adapting to new policies, technologies and demands from our customers,” said PG&E Corporation Chairman, CEO and President Tony Earley. “Nick is truly dedicated to our industry and our customers, and he is a great friend and colleague.” Earley received EEI’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2014.

“Nick’s wealth of experience and willingness to build consensus on tough issues have been tremendously beneficial for our industry,” said Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Tom Farrell. “Nick has also been a great leader in our industry’s efforts to provide new job opportunities for military veterans who have served our country.” Farrell received EEI’s Distinguished Leadership Award in 2013.

Akins is former chairman and current board member of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). In addition, he is a board member of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI); Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership; the Wexner Center for the Arts; the Columbus Partnership; the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation; Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited; Fifth Third Bancorp; OhioHealth; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; and the Business Roundtable, where he also serves on the executive committee and as chair of the energy and environment committee.

5 Reasons Customers Will Love ‘Free Online Immediate Pay’

Free Online Immediate Pay allows customers to instantly make a payment.

 

(Story by Shanelle Hinkle-Moore)

AEP Customer Operations Centers recently launched a new free service that allows paperless billing customers to make an “immediate payment” for their electric service, via a checking or money market account. Here are five reasons customers will love this payment option.

  1. It’s free!
    Customers have many ways to pay their bill immediately: over the phone, at a pay station, kiosk, or online. But, these options come with a convenience fee which can frustrate some customers. “One of our biggest customer complaints is, ‘Why is there an extra charge to pay my bill?’” Lindsay Chambers, functional system analyst associate, explained. The Free Online Immediate Pay option is another benefit for customers to switch to paperless billing.
  2. It’s quick
    Paperless billing customers can log-in online and make a real-time electronic check payment. The “immediate payment” will be applied to a customer’s account seconds later, empowering Customer Operations Center agents to accurately and quickly respond to service requests.
  3. Helps Retain or Start Electric Service
    Immediate Pay means faster response for electric service, which is good news for customers with time-sensitive transaction needs, such as last minute bill payments to avoid disconnection or late fees, or to make a security deposit to start electric service. It also helps customers to stop payment collection activities or initiate service restoration.
  4. Provides More Flexibility
    Previously, paperless billing customers only had the option to schedule future payments. The Free Online Immediate Pay adds more variety to the list of choices customers can consider to meet their needs.
  5. It’s Easy to Use
    Customers can enroll for paperless billing and make an immediate payment all in one transaction. The smooth customer experience for paperless billing customers to make an immediate payment that “is as easy as click, click, click,” said Chambers.

Why This Matters

An AEP Strategy for the Future is a Customer Experience (CX) where customers’ needs are met or exceeded. Free Online Immediate Pay demonstrates one way the company listens to customer’s concerns and improves technology and business processes to develop a solution. “CX is the main driver behind this first free digital immediate payment option that is both quick and easy to use. This new feature allows our paperless billing customers to make a free immediate payment, which provides a win-win for the customer and the company,” said Diane Moore-Nichter, credit policy and payment administration manager.

It also supports our goals to encourage customers to enroll for paperless billing which lower operations and maintenance costs and increase J.D. Power scores in customer satisfaction. After seeing a demonstration of Immediate Pay, Roger O’Dell, customer operations center manager, said, “It’s an outstanding opportunity to respond to the voice of the customer. The enhancements to the system are intuitive which will lead to reduced customer frustration and effort. It includes safeguards that help decrease customer complaints and avoids duplicate payments. It is another step forward in improving the CX.”

Eldredge Helps Pull Victims Out Of Fiery Car Wreck

Shawn Eldredge joined with others to rescue several people from two burning vehicles December 22. Photo by Zach Read.

(Story by Ed Bettinger)

After completing his Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) job duties for the day, Shawn Eldredge, network apprentice 2nd year-Mid Metro Tulsa Distribution, was working in the garage at his rural home west of Sapulpa, Okla. It was early evening December 22, and he expected his wife to arrive home at any moment.

Out on Highway 33, a two-lane road about a quarter-mile distant, the scattered evening traffic sailed by at a steady pace with tires humming.

The tranquil scene was abruptly shattered by the sounds of crunching metal and squealing brakes.

Eldredge bolted from his garage and ran to the highway, fearing at first that his wife might’ve been involved in a car wreck just as she was getting home.

Reaching the road, he found not his wife’s vehicle, but a three-car accident. One vehicle was lying on its side and another was erupting in flames. Worse, both vehicles were still occupied.

Eldredge ran to the burning car where a Creek County sheriff’s deputy, who’d happened upon the scene, was trying to remove the driver. Learning that the deputy did not have a fire extinguisher in his car, Eldredge sprinted to his home, grabbed two of his own extinguishers, and dashed back. As he sprayed one extinguisher to knock down the fire, the deputy and another passerby smashed out the car’s windshield and got the driver to safety.

Meanwhile, the car that had been knocked onto its side burst into flames. Eldredge, the deputy and others on the scene rushed to remove its occupants. As Eldredge expended the last of his fire extinguishers’ contents, the group of helpers pulled everyone in the car to safety.

Several of the people were hospitalized for their injuries.

State troopers said witnesses reported seeing a car swerving as it headed west and suddenly hit another car, which rolled over several times. There were four people inside.

The original car kept going and hit an SUV with five people inside.

Several small children were in the vehicles.

Eldredge said that neither he nor any of the others who helped at the scene would consider themselves to be “heroes”.

“I’m pretty confident that about anybody would’ve done the same thing. It’s just something you do,” he said. “There were quite a few people just doing what they could do to help.”

Eldredge, who is a 15-year employee, served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps before coming to work at PSO. He and his wife, Allison, are the parents of a 12-month-old daughter.

To learn more about this extraordinary response by Eldredge and the group of strangers who came together to save the lives of the victims, please see the story that aired on KOTV Channel 6 December 23.

 

Employees Show Heart in Making a Difference

Contributing to this article were: Ed Bettinger, Teresa Hamilton Hall, Eladio Jaimez, Peter Main, Barry Schumann, Tracy Warner and Karen Wissing.

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SWEPCO Texarkana employees cleaned up around the Senior Citizens Services of Texarkana Center, organized shelving stock, repaired shelves and disposed of used materials.

AEP employees at four power plants led the way on community service projects that benefitted trail users in Michigan, school children in Oklahoma, a rescue squad in Virginia and a Boys and Girls Club in Texas during Make a Difference Day 2016.

The power plant employees were among AEP active and retired employees from every operating company who coordinated and participated in 27 projects in nine states as part of the 24th annual Make a Difference Day Oct. 22. The event is the largest national day of community service and is sponsored by USA TODAY  in partnership with Points of Light.

AEP has provided grants of up to $300 per project since 2005 to build on employees’ interest in making their communities better places for everyone. The mini-grant program supports AEP’s community relations goal – To support and play an active, positive role in the communities where we live and work.

Near Lawton, Okla., nearly a dozen employees and contractors at Comanche Station joined with Flower Mound Public Schools to work through a sizable list of fix-up projects at the school. The volunteers trimmed trees and shrubs, removed trees and stumps, purchased, built and placed new benches, repaired old benches, and made repairs to a playground wall and water fountain at the school.

“It was a joint venture,” said Kristin Duggins, administrative assistant at Comanche. “We told the school system what we could provide in resources, and they came up with the projects. It was a win-win.”

Dax Trent, Flower Mound Schools superintendent, valued the effort at approximately $10,000 to $15,000 worth of work and supplies. “Partnerships and collaborations like this will allow those dollars to filter right back into the classroom for our students in curriculum and learning resources,” Trent said.

At Buchanan, Mich., Cook Nuclear Plant employees, Friends of the McCoy Creek Trail and PLAY (Projects Leading to Amazing Youth) in Buchanan worked to purchase and install new bicycle racks along the multi-use trail so that riders can park their bikes when stopping at points of interest.

“The trail runs along a trout stream,” said Bobby Blaylock, fire protection shift supervisor at Cook. “So from athletes to fishermen, there are a lot of people who love the trail.”

In Dante, Va., five employees from the Clinch River Plant worked with the Dante Rescue Squad to create and erect signs identifying the squad’s two buildings “as emergency medical service locations so people would know where to go for help,” according to the Lebanon (Va.) News. “Without the support of these employees, the grant would not have been possible,” the news article noted. The two signs, which took almost nine hours to erect, also display the Dante Squad’s contact information.

In Longview, Texas, six SWEPCO Pirkey Power Station and Longview Service Center employees teamed with Girl Scout Maddie Johnson, Lions Club International, Rotary International and Boys and Girls Club of Gregg County to update and repair the Boys and Girls Club facility. The volunteers painted walls, cleaned gutters, fixed leaky faucets, reorganized rooms and clean carpets to help Johnson achieve her Girl Scout Gold Award. “The project was a big success,” said Becky Whitenack, administrative assistant at Pirkey.

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PSO Comanche Plant employees (from left) Brandon Munro, Joey Haynes, Bryan Black (Sun Tech contractor) and Chance Doze shovel concrete to anchor new benches at Flower Mound Schools. Comanche employee Clifford Cherry works in the background.

Other Make A Difference Day highlights:

Columbus, Ohio – AEP Energy employees assembled “blessing bags” containing toiletries, comfort items and non-perishables for distribution to families who utilize the Faith Mission Homeless Shelter in Columbus. The shelter serves about 220 individuals daily.

Columbus, Ohio – More than a dozen AEP employees and friends hosted a Celebrate YOUth! party for homeless youth ages 14-24 at The Ohio State University Star House drop-in resource center. The event included games, treats, pumpkin decorating, photo booth, community resource table and an “Empowerment Corner” to provide motivational moments to value and empower the homeless youth.

Delaware, Ohio – AEP Service Corp. employees assisted the Humane Society of Delaware County with facility-related projects to improve the overall appearance. The volunteers painted benches, did landscaping and yard work, and mulched dog runs.

Gallipolis, Ohio – AEP and AEP Ohio employees gathered to repair and improve a 90-foot wheelchair ramp at Serenity House, a shelter for battered/homeless women and their children that serves Gallia, Meigs and Jackson counties in Ohio. Volunteers nailed down loose boards and installed non-skid material to make the access ramp and nearby steps safer for use by all.

Fayetteville, Ark. – Nearly a dozen Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) employees joined with Washington Regional Foundation Faith in Action serving homebound senior citizens to wash the exterior of a Springdale senior citizen’s home, prune and remove trees and shrubs next to a wheelchair ramp, mow the yard and clean flower beds.

Harlingen, Texas – AEP Texas volunteers joined more than 150 volunteers to plant more than 5,000 native plants and grasses at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park. Participating were Keep Harlingen Beautiful, the City of Harlingen and Texas State Technical College. AEP funding helped to feed the volunteer work force.

Hurricane, W.Va. – A half-dozen Appalachian Power Company (APCO) employees helped place wooden “Buddy Benches” and tables at the Hurricane Town Elementary School playground. The benches give children a place to sit during recess if they aren’t involved in play or games, and enable other children to identify students to join them in play.

Idabel, Okla. – Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) employees Tory White, Dyrick Leonard, Brad Farley, Harolynn Wofford and retiree Jerry Wofford joined about 20 community volunteers from Idabel High School student council, Idabel Main Street and the Idabel drug court, Junior Main Street, library and chamber of commerce in cleaning and weeding downtown flower beds, trimming shrubs, mulching and planting flowers.

Lancaster, Ohio – AEP and AEP Ohio employees joined with the Tarhe Trails Elementary School PTO to construct wooden benches and place them along the student walking trail at the school.

Logansport, La. –SWEPCO employees Belinda Berry, Sherri Conde, Shelia Blankenship, Maverick Boyer, Clintrey Pennywell, Wesley Groves and Victor “Mac” Verzal joined community volunteers at God’s Food Panty to box up food for the elderly and the less fortunate in the Logansport area.

Milton, W.Va. – AEP and APCO employees from a number of West Virginia locations and volunteers from the River Cities Therapy and Recreation Center repaired barbed wire fence at the facility, which provides equine-assisted therapy and activities for children and adults.

Pataskala, Ohio – AEP Service Corp. employees assisted Licking Heights High School students in collecting media and craft supplies to create activity bags to be distributed to young patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Pikeville, Ky. – Kentucky Power employees collaborated with the Appalachian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help find foster homes and permanent homes for pets in eastern Kentucky.

Pikeville, Ky. – Kentucky Power employees collected and delivered canned goods to the Westcare Emergency Shelter to provide food and meals for the area’s homeless and less fortunate.

Pulaski, Va. – Seven APCO employees served more than 150 meals to local individuals in need at Pulaski Daily Bread. The kitchen served more than 36,000 meals last year.

Roanoke, Va. – APCO employees participated in the Roanoke Heart Walk to celebrate life, honor survivors and learn more of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Salem, Va. – APCO employees from the John W. Vaughan Center raised funds and purchased toys for distribution to children in need through the Roanoke Valley Community Christmas Store. The store provides a free, dignified shopping experience for clothing, toys, household items and food for between 600 and 700 families in need.

Shreveport, La. –  SWEPCO employees Kawona Abmas, April Bailey, Barney Bates, Ray Fenton, Twila Griffin and David Langston joined other community members to care for the Right to Play playground park for the disabled. Volunteers cleaned, repaired playground equipment, trimmed trees, planted flowers and shrubs, mulched and prepared the park for the winter months.

Stonewall, La. – SWEPCO employees Belinda Berry, Sherri Conde, Maverick Boyer, Sheila Blankenship, Bryan Evans, Josh Dice, Mike Mathews, Vera Severin and Joni Waddle teamed with the Town of Stonewall to beautify the town park. The volunteers weeded and mulched flower beds and winterized fruit trees in the park.

Texarkana, Texas – SWEPCO’s Paul Knowles led a group of employee volunteers in cleaning and maintenance projects around the Senior Citizens of Texarkana service center. The team cleaned outside the center and organized shelving stock, repaired shelves and disposed of un-needed materials inside. Funds were used to purchase heating units to keep meals warm during delivery to seniors in communities served by the center.

Tulsa, Okla. – Active and retired employees at PSO’s Tulsa General Office gathered $400 in cash and 700 new and gently used warm clothing for Iron Gate Trust, a non-profit soup kitchen/pantry serving at-risk and homeless individuals and families. Effort coordinator Karen Graham, Transmission Field Services scheduling supervisor, reported the donations helped Iron Gate meet its cold weather clothing needs for the season.

Tulsa, Okla. – Tulsa General Office employees, along with the Association of Caring Employees (ACE) Team, collected food donations to be boxed and delivered for Thanksgiving to 10 of the neediest families at partner school Central High School. The employees used the mini-grant to purchase any needed foods not donated.

Williamson, W.Va. – APCO and Kentucky Power employees hosted a Halloween-themed party for youth who frequent the Southern West Virginia Action for Youth after-school center. The center provides computers, games and tutoring for all children but most are from low-income families.

To learn more about national Make a Difference Day, visit makeadifferenceday.com.

Obituaries

AEP River Transportation Division

Chila Carter, 99, retired, River Transportation Division, died November 17.

Daniel Jones Jr., 84, retired, River Transportation Division, died November 8.

AEP Service Corporation

Larry Myers, 74, Columbia Transmission Service Center, died October 21.

Gregory Vassell, 94, retired, AEP Headquarters, died November 3.

Appalachian Power Company

Sonja Burnette, 65, Fieldale Office, died November 7.

Weldon Holliday, 69, Welch Service Center, died November 18.

William Horton, 85, retired, Bluefield (W.Va.) Office, died November 15.

Timothy Howard, 60, Bluefield (W.Va.) Service Center, died October 25.

Rodney McCready, 70, Marion Office, died November 12.

Becky Roush, 80, retired, Amos Plant, died October 18.

Emily Thomas, 64, retired, Pulaski Service Center, died November 1.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Eva Darling, 92 retired, Conesville Plant, died September 17.

Bernard Fisher, 92, retired, Conesville Plant, died November 2.

Raymond Fluharty, 70, retired, Conesville Plant, died November 6.

Don Graves, 86, retired, 850 Tech Center, died November 18.

Robert Hoy, 68, Mound Street Service Center, died October 29.

Roger Kinnamon, 74, retired, Picway Plant, died November 8.

Daun Knox, 72, 850 Tech Center, died October 31.

Scott Shonk, 56, Energy Delivery Headquarters-Gahanna, died November 10.

Neil Stanfield, 86, retired, 850 Tech Center, died June 6.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Mildred Enders, 92, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died November 23.

Harold Feller, 83, retired, Tanners Creek Plant, died February 17.

Gerald Forbes, 87, retired, Breed Plant, died November 24.

Richard Frakes, 91, retired, Avilla Service Center, died November 9.

Annabelle Heller, 94, retired, Decatur Service Center, died November 10.

Irene Martin, 90, retired, South Bend Service Center, died November 3.

Nelson Roush, 89, retired, Rockport Plant, died November 14.

Dallas Turner, 79, retired, Tanners Creek Plant, died November 17.

Kentucky Power Company

Herbert Charles, 89, retired, Robert E. Matthews Service Center, died November 14.

Robert Franks, 80, retired, Ashland Office, died November 22.

Ohio Power Company

Ronald Clark, 75, retired, Lima Service Center, died November 27.

Jack Cook, 90, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died November 9.

Robert Fancher, 87, retired, Lancaster Office Building, died November 25.

David Gilliland, 74, retired, Muskingum River Plant, died November 15.

Corinne Gulling, 88, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died October 24.

Robert Lacy, 69, McConnelsville Service Center, died November 22.

Joseph McCullough, 88, retired, Steubenville Service Center, died November 10.

William Moore III, 75, retired, Gavin Plant, died November 22.

Jacklyn Sebulsky, 70, Kammer Plant, died October 21.

Mark Shepherd, 54, Kammer Plant, died October 25.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Earl Kendell, 79, retired, Tulsa General Office, died November 11.

Harvey Smith, 86, retired, Tulsa General Office, died October 21.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Mervin Barbo, 77, retired, Shreveport General Office, died November 25.

Albert Berry, 83, retired, Shreveport General Office, died November 13.

David Crile, 65, Flint Creek Plant, died October 14.

Johnny Cross, 74, retired, Fayetteville Operations, died November 10.

John James, 93, retired, Shreveport General Office, died November 7.

John Prince, 56, Pirkey Plant, died November 21.

Jack Strong, 86, retired, Shreveport General Office, died November 9.

Texas Central

Benito Flores, 89, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 5.

Rene Garcia Jr., 68, retired, Laredo Service Center, died October 23.

Michael Henry, 65, Lipan Service Center, died October 19.

Joe Mueller, 88, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 27.

Paul Olivares, 85, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 6.

Lionel Rodriguez, 87, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 4.

Texas North

Craig Brooks, 43, T&D Operations, died November 4.

E.J. Deanda, 82, retired, Abilene General Office, died October 29.

November Retirements

AEP Ohio

Daniel Hemphill, Belmont Service Center, retired November 27 after 43 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Bryan Conery, Arena Building, retired November 19 after 36 years of service.

AEP Texas

Paul Longoria, Harlingen Service Center, retired November 15 after 37 years of service.

Appalachian Power Company

Edward Argabright, John W. Vaughan Center, retired November 1 after 28 years of service.

Generation

Patrick Helton, Cook Coal Terminal, retired November 1 after 39 years of service.

Mark Hudson, Gavin Plant, retired November 5 after 39 years of service.

Vicky Ohlinger, Gavin Plant, retired November 8 after 27 years of service.

Kenneth Parker, Cardinal Plant, retired November 1 after 38 years of service.

Paul Schoepf, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 11 after 35 years of service.

Russell Starcher, Gavin Plant, retired November 5 after 37 years of service.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

Peter Belkin, Tulsa General Office, retired November 8 after 15 years of service.

Gary Semke, Mid Metro Office, retired November 1 after 46 years of service.

Peggy Ward, Tulsa General Office, retired November 1 after 10 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Larry Permenter, System Control Center, retired November 1 after 32 years of service.