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Cook Nuclear Plant employees provide value to community

by on February 14, 2012
Cook employees Jon Harner (left) and Tiffany Rydwelski (right) reprised their roles last year as buyers in the livestock arena during the Berrien County Youth Fair, just like they did here in 2010. During “Cook Nuclear Plant Day,” Cook was the primary sponsor of the day’s activities.

(Story by Bill Schalk)

BRIDGMAN, Mich. — It’s a given that the men and women who work at Cook Nuclear Plant increase the value of living and working in Southwest Michigan by producing safe, reliable and low-cost electricity.

But that’s not the only way they provide value.

Cook employees strive in other ways to make Southwest Michigan a better place to call home. Each year our employees pull out their wallets and give thousands of dollars, or roll up their sleeves to volunteer thousands of hours to community organizations and groups.

Some of the ways Cook employees helped in 2011 are.

  • Awarded $53,000 in Heart of Cook grants. This money helped 35 community organizations in Southwest Michigan and Northwest Indiana.
  • Helped fund two houses for Harbor Habitat for Humanity and provided leadership and labor to build them.
  • AEP matched 50% of employee contributions to United Way. Employee contributions to the 2011 campaign were $153,494, which is among the largest in the community.
  • Cook employee team raised more than $12,000 for American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Berrien County and was recognized as a Diamond Sponsor.
  • AEP Foundation pledged $250,000 to the Benton Harbor Boys & Girls Club’s new building.
  • Made large donations to the Berrien County Youth Fair, our area’s Red Cross chapter, the Berrien County Marine Division and the Berrien County Firefighter Simulator
  • Named a Berrien Regional Education Service Agency “Partner in Education.”
  • Sponsored Cloverleaf Spelling Bee and co-sponsored Academic Challenge for area middle and high school students.
  • Sponsored and led area Science Olympiad teams.
  • Maintained strong partnership with the Lake Michigan College Energy Technology program.
  • Served as a “Champion for Change” by participating in initiatives for Benton Harbor.
  • Provided support and employee volunteer time to a wide range of community events including Toys for Tots, Animal Aid and military care packages.
Members of the Cook Running Club ran as a team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2011. Racing for the Cure were Cook Running Club members (from left): Pete Neu, Jim Petro (standing), George Paustian, Kyra Richter, Adrian Guyberson, Liz Zordell, Samantha Reyes, Blair Zordell, Scott Richardson and Brittany Ego. Not pictured: Jessica Olp and Alex Olp.

So, why do they do all this? Why do they invest time and money into these kinds of activities and projects?

First, they are proud of their home and want to do all they can to enhance the quality of life for the people who reside here with them. Second, they want to show the community that they are part of its fabric and that they are eager to be a partner in helping it continue to thrive.

Finally, they want to continue a solid tradition of community engagement that stems back for decades. In particular, they are always reminded of the 1934 quote by George N. Tidd, former president of American Gas & Electric (later renamed American Electric Power in 1958).

“We are a citizen of each community we serve and take an active part in its affairs. Like any other citizen, we want our neighbors to think well of us. Besides, it makes good business sense. We prosper only as the community prospers; so we help it thrive in every way we can. Such is our job as we see it. We are trying to do it well and to do it better all the time.”

From → News From AEP

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