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Harvest Palooza raises $50,000 to fight hunger

by on October 8, 2012
The Power Chords, featuring the Tower of Power horn section, including (left to right) Dale Heydlauff, Pablo Vegas and Stu Burton, rock the Harvest for Hunger Palooza.Photos by: Josh L. Smith

(Story by Barry Schumann)

What began with a few local bands that included AEP employees playing at a local watering hole to raise a couple thousand dollars to battle hunger has grown into an annual event featuring rock-and-roll entertainment by AEP employees that brought in a record-breaking $50,000 for Operation Feed this year.

AEP’s seventh annual Harvest for Hunger Palooza was held for the first time at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, the benefitting organization that processes and delivers more than 45 million pounds of food including emergency meals for nearly 250,000 individuals annually.

“Each dollar raised enables the Foodbank to distribute $8 worth of groceries,” noted AEP President and CEO Nick Akins. The Palooza proceeds will translate into about $400,000 worth of groceries the Foodbank will be able to offer more than 550 food pantries, soup kitchens, after-school programs, senior centers and emergency shelters in 20 counties across Ohio — most within the AEP Ohio service area.

AEP CEO Nick Akins works the drums at the Harvest Palooza.

Not a bad return on the investment in time and fun by current and former AEP employees who perform at a limited number of fundraisers as The Power Chords featuring the Tower of Power horn section.

Band members include:

  • Akins on drums;
  • Stu Burton, AEP principal engineer, on tenor sax;
  • Kevin Duffy, former AEP IT manager and current IT consultant, on trombone;
  • Joe Hamrock, former AEP Ohio president and current EVP and Group CEO for NiSource Gas Distribution, on guitar, keyboards and vocals;
  • Patrick Hamrock, assistant vice president for AT&T Ohio, on bass;
  • Dale Heydlauff, AEP vice president – Corporate Communications, on trumpet and vocals;
  • Tim King, AEP assistant general counsel, on guitar, keyboards and vocals;
  • Steve King, retired consultant, on lead vocals;
  • Tom McCartney, AEP principal engineer, on alto sax; and
  • Pablo Vegas, AEP Ohio president and COO, on alto sax.

Bob Powers, AEP EVP and COO, appeared as a special guest performer at the Sept. 27 event, taking a lively turn on lead guitar.

Funds from the event will be counted toward the 2013 AEP-IBEW Local 1466 Operation Feed campaign total. Each spring AEP and the IBEW Local partner to support fun activities and events with proceeds to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

In 2012, the AEP-IBEW campaign tallied a record 350,000 meals, a feat Akins called “… a huge success that ensures the food bank can continue to provide food for those in need.” Akins thanked IBEW Local 1466 president and business manager Kimberly Johnson and AEP Operation Feed Community Champs Laurel Lewis, Tina Sefcik, Gary Brooks and Brian Boggs, and steering committee advisors Aimee Toole and Mike Stauffer. The Champs and advisors led the campaign and were assisted by members of a steering committee and more than 70 team leaders at central Ohio AEP and AEP Ohio locations.

“As usual, they (The Power Chords) rocked and my guest really enjoyed the fact that AEP’s CEO was rockin’ the drums in a t-shirt and jeans,” said Toole. “The executives did a great job of setting a fun and festive mood for the evening.”

Akins also recognized the efforts of Palooza Planning Committee members Linda Jeffries, Melissa Phillips, Shawn Parker, Susan Wilson, Rhonda Owens-Paul and Wendy Bell, who organized and coordinated the annual event.

The event was presented with support from more than three dozen AEP vendors and partners, including United Construction Co., Sun Technical Services, Murray Sheet Metal, Alstom, Babcock Power, Event Marketing Strategies, Pomeroy IT Solutions, Sargent & Lundy, Siemens and WorleyParsons.

Matt Habash, president and COO of Mid-Ohio Foodbank, welcomed attendees and sang on one song. Akins, Vegas and Joe Hamrock served as event hosts, and Akins and Vegas served as masters of ceremonies for the evening.

One Comment
  1. ripawliger permalink

    Great talent for a great cause. Sounds like it was a “powerful” and fun event.

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