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Employees, retirees from APCO, Kentucky read to thousands of students

by on December 3, 2015
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.”


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