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Employees thank co-workers for their generosity in time of need

by on December 3, 2013

Editor’s Note: These are letters from the families of three AEP employees who are thanking their co-workers for assistance to them and their families. Employees’ acts of kindness included taking advantage of an AEP benefits policy to [donate vacation time] so that these employees could have enough time off work to assist their families. AEP is proud of its employees, even more so when they demonstrate such mutual caring, generosity, agility, and teamwork. We truly do have extraordinary employees here at AEP, and we have much to be thankful for!

The first letter is from [Brooke Prenzlin], administrative associate at the Fostoria Service Center in AEP Ohio. After her husband was severely injured in a motorcycle accident, her co-workers took extraordinary steps to provide support to her as he recovered.  

AEP Ohio employee Brooke Prenzlin (right) and her husband, Brandon, stand on the new wheelchair ramp and deck built by her co-workers after Brandon’s motorcycle accident.Submitted photos

Hi, my name is Brooke Prenzlin and I’ve been an administrative associate in Western Ohio for three years. 
My husband, Brandon, was in a motorcycle accident on July 13, 2013. As a result of this accident, he shattered the T-12 vertebra in his back, broke multiple ribs, had a laceration on his spleen and fluid was found on his stomach. At that point, he had no feeling from his waist down. After the accident, he was life-flighted to The Ohio State University Medical Center where he underwent two surgeries on his back to repair damage to his spinal cord. We were very scared, but the surgeries were a success and he began to regain feeling in his legs soon afterwards.
He was in the hospital for more than a month after the surgeries to undergo intense inpatient rehabilitation which has helped him learn how to deal with his spinal cord injury, as well as re-learn day-to-day activities such as walking, bathing and getting dressed.
It has now been a little over three months, and he has been getting around by himself, slowly but surely, with a walker for short distances and a wheelchair for long distances. We have truly been blessed.
The reason I’m writing this is because this has been a life-changing experience, for both my husband and me. And during this life-changing experience, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing what the employees at AEP are truly like. I’ve never been exposed to the love and kindness that this company and its employees have shown. In my eyes, this is truly a huge family that is willing to go the extra mile to help someone.
I have a hard time accepting “hand-outs.” It’s not something that my husband and I do. We have always taken care of ourselves, so it was very difficult for me to accept these things. But a few weeks into it, I realized that I wasn’t able to take care of everything on my own and I had to accept help.
There were so many people who reached out and I want to take this chance to thank everyone who helped me during this time. I apologize for not being able to personally thank each and every one of you. Hopefully this letter will help you understand how much all of this truly means to me and my family. I’m truly at a loss for words.
While my husband was in the hospital, I had to take a lot of time off work and unfortunately I only had a couple of vacation days left. My local Human Resources representative suggested we solicit vacation donation. Wow, what an overwhelming response! With the vacation that was donated, I was able to take the time off work that I needed to be with my husband, and I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to keep up with the expenses, bills, etc. THANK YOU! To whoever donated these vacation days – you will never know how much my family and I appreciate it. Words will never be able to express my gratitude.
On days that I was able to come home for a few minutes, I was receiving cards in the mail expressing employees’ thoughts and prayers to my family. Many of them included gift cards for expenses. Again – to whoever donated all these items – you will never know how much we appreciate everything. We used the gift cards to help with renovations to the house to make sure my husband was able to access the things he needed to come home.
When Brandon went into in-patient rehabilitation, I was able to come back to work for a couple weeks. At this time, I was able to make it to a staff meeting, where I found out the Western Ohio leadership team wanted to help with some of the home renovations. They told me they wanted to help with the wheelchair ramp. I was completely surprised and grateful! What a generous gesture! In my mind, I was thinking a small plywood ramp to get us by until Brandon didn’t need his wheelchair anymore. What I got was something completely different!
With the help of the supervisors – distribution system and a few others in Western Ohio, I have the most beautiful deck and wheelchair ramp that someone could hope for. And there is something very special about the deck and wheelchair ramp they built — it was completely constructed out of 100-year-old AEP poles! The history within this is amazing. Not only do we sit outside on the deck and talk about linemen who may have climbed these poles, but we talk about the people who helped cut the wood, plane it, dig post holes, stain and seal it, and all of the hard work and time they put into it — just to help us!
Here’s a big THANK YOU!  You know who you are and I will be forever grateful for what you have done for me and my husband.
I hope by reading this, those of you that helped me, will understand how much we really truly appreciate everything you have done and I hope that one day, I may be able to return the favor. Thank you AEP!
— Brooke Prenzlin

The second letter is from [Tyler Blaker], a generation dispatcher in Real-Time RTO Operations at AEP Headquarters. Blaker expresses his thanks to fellow employees who donated vacation time so that he could be with his newborn baby son, who was born with life-threatening complications. A resident of Champaign County, west of Urbana, Ohio, Blaker started work at AEP Oct. 7 of this year.

AEP employee Tyler Blaker, his wife Karen, and their baby son, Xavier.

If you are reading this, it is my understanding that you recently donated your personal vacation time to me so that I could tend to a family emergency. First and foremost, my family and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity. Since I am a recent hire to AEP, my wife and I were deeply touched by the outpouring of support by people who I most likely have never met.

My son Xavier was born Oct. 17, 2013, with complications due to a meconium aspiration in the womb. This caused his lungs to become inflamed and his lungs and heart began to fail. As a last resort, he was put on a lung and blood bypass machine for five days, a procedure called extracorporeal membrane oxygeneation (ECMO) that involves pumping all the blood out of the body. He spent a total of 20 days in the neonatal ICU. At this time, I am very happy to report that Xavier is now home and has made nothing short of a miraculous recovery. He shows no signs of long-term complications and everything appears back to normal and healthy.

Because of your generosity, I was able to be by his and my wife Karen’s side through the entire process. I will forever be in a debt of gratitude for the kindness you showed my family. Thank you, and may God bless you and your family abundantly.

— Tyler Blaker

The third letter is from Stacie Bolitho, the sister of John Blair II, material coordinator at Northeastern Station Unit 2. Her father, John Blair, is construction manager in Construction Services at Conesville Plant. Recently the family suffered a loss when Stacie’s husband took his own life. During this difficult time, many people they work with have stepped up to help.

Stacie, Kennedy and Kyle Bolitho.

My name is Stacie Bolitho. My husband Kyle and I were married Oct. 27, 2007. In 2010, Kyle and I walked into the hospital as a couple and walked out as a family when our daughter Kennedy was born on July 28. Kennedy was truly the light of Kyle’s eyes. He was so proud of everything she accomplished. They loved spending afternoons at our neighbor’s pond fishing together, listening to music, dancing, and just having fun. When we took our marriage vows, I never thought anything but death was going to tear us apart, and I figured that even death was a long way down the road for us since we were only in our early 20s at the time. Unfortunately, my worst nightmare came true Oct. 24, 2013, when Kyle decided for reasons that are unknown to all of us that he was going to take his own life.

Kyle’s passing left shock through myself, Kennedy and many other friends and family members. Some reading this may know my father John Blair, my brother John Blair II (Deuce) and my brother-in-law Shaun Hagans, which is how AEP ties into my unfortunate circumstances. The support and donations that have been contributed to me and to Kennedy from employees of AEP have been overwhelming. During this time when I was questioning so much about life, I was truly touched to see condolences, kind words and such generous contributions made to my husband’s memorial fund from the employees of AEP.

AEP should truly be proud of the amazing employees it has working for them. It really goes to show that even in this day and time there are still people out there who are kind and compassionate.

I would like to thank each and every one of the employees at AEP for all they have done for myself, Kennedy, and the rest of my family. We have truly been blessed by your generosity.

— Stacie Bolitho

From → News From AEP

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