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Kentucky Power’s Centennial Kicks Off 2019 With 100 Acts of Appreciation

ASHLAND, Ky. – On July 21, 1919, just weeks after the U.S. Congress approved the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, a new company was formed in eastern Kentucky. That company – Kentucky and West Virginia Power – grew to become Kentucky Power.

For nearly 100 years, Kentucky Power’s mission has been to provide residents and businesses in eastern Kentucky with safe, reliable and affordable electricity. In celebration of Kentucky Power’s centennial this year, the focus will be on customers and giving back in the communities where employees live and work, while continuing the mission to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity.

During 2019, Kentucky Power’s social media will showcase the many non-profit organizations providing valuable services and resources that are supported by Kentucky Power and its employees through contributions, sponsorships and volunteerism.  The 100 Acts of Appreciation Campaign kicked off January 2 and runs throughout 2019.

“For our anniversary theme, we want to emphasize appreciation for our customers, while highlighting Kentucky Power as a good corporate citizen,” said Cindy Wiseman, managing director – external affairs and customer service. “We believe, with everyone’s commitment, we can not only reach 100 Acts of Appreciation but exceed it. We want this to be fun and rewarding for all employees.”

One of the first acts came in the form of a warm coat for those in need. Employees in Pikeville delivered 40 coats and jackets they had collected during a coat drive to the Pikeville Methodist Church, Westcare Homeless Shelter and Trinity Harvest on Jan. 2, the first day back to work for many after the holidays.  (Pikeville District employees show piles of coats collected for area residents in need in the photo above.) Employees in Ashland collected 72 coats that they collected during their drive. Hazard employees also collected coats for those in need in their area.

New Fire Station Dedicated to AEP Employee

Derek Myers stands proudly next to the sign for Station 405 in Ohio.

(Story by Laura Vargas)

The time it takes for an ambulance or fire truck to arrive can mean the difference between life and death. The residents of Jersey Township, Ohio thought it was taking too long. Luckily, they had a great advocate in Derek Myers.

Myers is the director of the infrastructure complex team at AEP.  He’s also an engaged community member. He served as a Jersey Township Trustee and West Licking Fire Board member for more than 20 years.

In his leadership roles, Myers advocated for a new fire station, along with other township improvements.  His efforts paid off in October when a new fire station with EMS services was opened at Morse Rd. and 161.  The township dedicated the new station to him, naming it the Derek Myers Station 405.

“It was unexpected and very humbling,” Myers said.

The new station covers Jersey Township, Harrison Township, Etna Township, Reynoldsburg, Pataskala, Kirkersville and parts of New Albany. AEP’s New Albany Transmission building is also included.

“When you looked at our district, lots of improvements were made to the southern part of the district, which was more populated.  It made sense to offer the same level of service in the north,” Myers said.

Myers brings the same passion to his work on AEP’s IT team.  “We’re so proud of Derek,” said Jason Griffith, managing director of infrastructure and operations.  “His leadership and dedication are clear in his work at AEP and in the community.”

Obituaries

AEP River Transportation Division

Michael Wolford, 58, River Transportation Division, died November 18.

AEP Service Corporation

Glendell Miller, 78, retired, died October 30.

AEP Texas

W.G. Bruner, 81, retired, Abilene General Office, died November 19.

Mary Cox, 97, retired, Abilene General Office, died November 11.

Mark Dugie, 62, Kenedy Service Center, died November 15.

Guadalupe Garza Jr., 72, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 17.

Oscar Migl, 89, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 15.

Delbert Morris, 93, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 7.

Joyce Ray, 74, San Angelo Services, died November 6.

B.E. Rives, 88, retired, Abilene General Office, died October 31.

David Urrea, 88, retired, Corpus Christi Office, died November 22.

Appalachian Power Company

Elinor Oliver, 99, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died October 19.

Alfred Runions, 83, retired, Amos Plant, died November 26.

James Smith, 83, retired, Beckley Service Center, died November 13.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Richard Haag, 87, retired, 850 Tech Center, died October 28.

William Hetterscheidt, 84, retired, 850 Tech Center, died November 18.

William Yant, 80, retired, Delaware Service Center, died November 6.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Clyde Flatter, 75, retired, Hartford City Service Center, died November 6.

Joseph Palkowitch, 87, retired, South Bend Service Center, died November 12.

Everett Smith, 65, Tanners Creek Plant, died November 5.

Kentucky Power Company

Roger Brewer, 67, Big Sandy Plant, died November 13.

Betty Henigin, 90, retired, Big Sandy Plant, died October 27.

Ohio Power Company

William Bickerstaff, 88, retired, Gavin Plant, died November 7.

Virgil Knicely, 93, retired, Gavin Plant, died October 29.

Charles Miley, 88, retired, Van Wert Office Building, died November 15.

Richard Morgan, 82, retired, Portsmouth Service Center, died November 21.

Charles Mossor, 61, Cardinal Plant, died November 3.

Leonard Shannon, 69, Cardinal Plant, died November 7.

Clayton Wright, 92, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died November 13.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma

George Boyce, 71, Energy Control Center, died November 3.

Mickey Rowell, 79, retired, Tulsa General Office, died October 30.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Louis Merchant, 89, retired, Shreveport General Office, died November 21.

William Tragesser, 88, retired, Shreveport General Office, died October 22.

Making the Holidays Brighter, Our Communities Stronger

Jim Carlson places ornaments on his “giving” Christmas tree.

(Story by Tawn Earnest)

Like a lot of people this time of year, Jim Carlson and his wife, Suzanne, throw a Christmas party for friends, family and neighbors. Their guests have come to expect at least three things. The party is always the first Saturday night in December. The Ohio State game will be on TV, “no matter how painful it is to watch.” At least one of the Christmas trees will be bare.

When Jim started throwing the party years ago, guests would bring huge casseroles and bottomless bowls of chips and dip. There would be enough dessert to stock a small bakery.

“Twenty people would show up with food to feed 20 people, which meant you had enough food to feed 400 people. And, there’d be nowhere to put it,” laughed Jim, a retired AEP accountant who recently came out of retirement to return to work at AEP.

But sharing and caring is an important part of celebrating the holidays. So, in keeping with that spirit, Jim asks friends to bring an ornament instead of food. At the party, they hang their ornament on a small tree and share the simple joy of decorating it together. After the party, the fully decked tree moves to Jim’s car and begins its journey to a local charity. Its final destination: a needy family’s home, where the holidays will be brighter, literally and figuratively, because of it.

The very first year, Jim drove the tree to a food pantry. A man saw Jim put the tree on the floor, and quietly asked if he could take it home to surprise his kids. “As we were loading the tree onto his truck, he told me, ‘you don’t know how much this means to me,’” Jim said.

It was a game-changer for the man, whose family had planned to celebrate with a plastic palm tree. And, it was a game-changer for Jim.

Jim’s party has donated a Christmas tree every year since. It’s been more than a decade. In some years, friends gave Jim trees. Most years, Jim buys a new tree (or two) on clearance in January ahead of the coming Christmas. The tradition lives on thanks to Suzanne, who cooks for days ahead of time. Many of Jim’s collaborators are former coworkers whose lives he’s touched in his decades-long AEP career. They aren’t surprised at all by his ability to connect to people’s needs and find people-oriented solutions.

Years ago, as a young accountant, Jim joined AEP’s Operation Feed Steering Committee, the annual fundraiser for the local food bank. He earned a reputation as a master networker who kept an A-Z binder of contacts that he constantly updated. Small talk with strangers while riding up on the elevator at AEP’s downtown tower opened a gold mine of details about family, hobbies and interests. Jim captured all those little details in his binder. The binder became a catalogue of both needs and leads. Jim used it as an excuse to reconnect and help his new friends.

“You were put on this earth for a reason,” said Jim, pausing to choose his words. “Maybe the reason is to help someone else.”

November Retirements

AEP Ohio

David Glass, Newark Service Building, retired November 30 after 41 years of service.

Maxine Joseph, Columbus Northeast Service Center, retired November 22 after 33 years of service.

Carl Roshong, Canton Eastern Regional Office, retired November 1 after 40 years of service.

Joel Trad, Gahanna 700 Building, retired November 1 after 41 years of service.

AEP River Transportation Division

Mark Clay, River Transportation Division, retired November 6 after 27 years of service.

AEP Service Corporation

Larry Aguirre, AEP Headquarters, retired November 1 after 16 years of service.

Stephen Vagnier, AEP Headquarters, retired November 30 after 38 years of service.

AEP Texas

Jose Rodriguez Jr., Los Fresnos Service Center, retired November 1 after 43 years of service.

Generation

John Bowman, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 16 after 25 years of service.

Gary Braun, Rockport Plant, retired November 1 after 34 years of service.

Ronald Cale, Mountaineer Plant, retired November 27 after 38 years of service.

Lou Harrison, Northeastern Station 1&2, retired November 9 after 26 years of service.

Gerald Levi, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 29 after 25 years of service.

William Linfield IV, Pirkey Plant, retired November 16 after 42 years of service.

Clifford Swan, Amos Plant, retired November 1 after 14 years of service.

Gary Weber, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 22 after 30 years of service.

Peter Wikowski, Cook Nuclear Plant, retired November 3 after 19 years of service.

Ross Wilmoth Jr., Flint Creek Plant, retired November 9 after 41 years of service.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Jo Cunningham, Muncie Service Center, retired November 1 after 28 years of service.

Kentucky Power Company

Robert Gibson, Whitesburg Office, retired November 1 after 31 years of service.

Southwestern Electric Power Company

Ron Burge, Mineola Office, retired November 2 after 38 years of service.

Bruce Wynn, Shreveport General Office, retired November 1 after 16 years of service.

Transmission

Eric Engdahl, AEP Transmission Headquarters, retired November 3 after 45 years of service.

Ronald Williams, Lon Hill Service Center, retired November 1 after 37 years of service.

 

APCO Line Crew Supervisor Herb Coles receives AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award

AEP Executive Vice President Paul Chodak (right) presents the AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award to APCO Line Crew Supervisor Herb Coles Nov. 21 in Roanoke. In April, Coles rushed to the aid of his neighbor who was being attacked by a dog. His actions likely saved her life.

(Story by Teresa Hall)

In a room full of coworkers, Herb Coles, a line crew supervisor for Appalachian Power Company, accepted the AEP Chairman’s Life Saving Award for his actions in April that likely saved his neighbor’s life. Paul Chodak, AEP executive vice president — Utilities, presented the award after commending Coles for his willingness to help someone in need.

“Anyone who works with dogs will tell you I did everything wrong that day,” Coles told his colleagues as he accepted the plaque. “But I didn’t have too much time to think about it. My neighbors were in trouble and I reacted, and I give all the glory to God for the way it turned out.”

A night Coles won’t forget

Coles hadn’t been home from work long; it was around 9 p.m. when he said he was startled by what sounded like kids playing followed by a faint voice possibly yelling, “Call police.”

A concerned Coles stepped outside and detected commotion next door. “It was dark and hard to tell what was going on,” he said. Coles heard his neighbor’s daughter scream, “Please help, the dog is killing my Momma.”

Coles put on his boots, grabbed a broken sledgehammer that was missing the metal head, and ran next door. Armed with only the wooden handle, he entered his neighbor’s backyard and saw what appeared to be a large pit bull with its mouth clamped down on his neighbor’s forearm. At least two other dogs were also in the yard.

Coles said his badly injured neighbor was on the ground and struggling to break free. “I hit the dog on its back as hard as I could several times, but it didn’t budge; it wouldn’t let go,” he said. The other two dogs turned on Coles. “One of the dogs was biting my shoulder, and the other was biting my ankles.”

With the pit bull latched on to his neighbor, Coles grabbed the loose skin on the back of its neck. “What happened next had to be God,” Coles said. As the dog released its grip on his neighbor, the animal turned its head toward him. “It was dark and I couldn’t see, but I shoved the stick in its mouth.”

As Coles and the dog continued to wrestle, the two fell to the ground with Coles on top. But keeping the dog at bay long enough for the women to get inside wasn’t easy. The dog managed to turn its head and bite Coles’ hand. In a panic, Coles hit the dog a second time in the mouth and saw what he said appeared to be a tooth exit its mouth. Perhaps sensing what was happening, the other two dogs scampered away and the women were able to make it inside their home.

With the women now safe, Coles jumped the fence to the security of his own yard. Police and rescue personnel soon arrived.

Coles received injuries to his hands, forearms, shoulders and buttocks, and required 11 shots. His neighbor’s injuries were far more severe and required hospitalization. She sustained at least one broken arm, blood loss, and multiple lacerations and wounds to her face.

“It had to be God that made it work just right,” Coles said. “I was home when I wasn’t supposed to be.”

Following the attack, Coles said his neighbor quietly referred to him as her hero. “I told her, no,” he said. “The glory belongs to God.”

‘A Very Merry Huckleberry Holiday’: AEP Lights Up Crisis Shelter

The finished holiday lighting at Huckleberry House, with 9,000 lights.

(Story by Scott Fuller)

The Huckleberry House provides support to youth and families in Central Ohio who are dealing with abuse, poverty, homelessness and other life challenges. The organization got a little support of its own when AEP lit up the house with Christmas lights for the first time in more than 40 years.

AEP employees provided “A Very Merry Huckleberry Holiday” by stringing 9,000 white Christmas lights across the 100-plus-year-old mansion near the Short North area of Columbus. The idea was born from two line servicers from the Grandview Service Center who wanted to volunteer their time.

The plan grew to include various groups at AEP including AEP Ohio, Generation, Transmission and Employee Resource Groups that donated their time – and about $1,500 from AEP Ohio’s Energy Efficiency team for the lights alone – to illuminate the building for the first time since the crisis shelter opened in the 1970s.

Becky Naugle, coordinator, East Transmission Planning, is co-chair of the ADAPT Employee Resource Group and helped take the reins planning the project, rounding up volunteers and taking the necessary measurements at the house.

“It was a lot of fun and really cool,” Naugle said. “When I first heard about it I was so excited because I love ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ and I pictured us lighting up the house just like in the movie.”

Coyla Black, Transmission right of way project coordinator, has also worked to get employees connected to Huckleberry House. “AEP has been a supporter of Huckleberry House for some time,” Black said. “A year or so ago, I had the opportunity to meet some of the youth helped by Huckleberry House, and since then I’ve been introducing the AEP ERGs and other groups to find ways to get involved with this wonderful organization.”

Ten AEP employees (six from the Columbus line department and a four-man Transmission crew) spent four hours November 29 using bucket trucks to hang the lights, despite several of them working long hours the day before during an ice storm. Safety issues remained a priority, and Naugle and Safety Consultant Katrina Miaudi placed attention on the details. For example, due to the building’s age, it has no outdoor electrical outlets, so cords had to be run into the third floor and attic windows. The use of bucket trucks eliminated the need for very tall ladders that would have created a significant hazard.

The many hours of hard work paid off: On Sunday, December 2, a public ceremony was held, complete with carolers and hot chocolate, that illuminated the house and brought smiles to the children’s faces. The lights will remain on from dusk to midnight through the end of December.

“This effort was very important to us. We were so proud to be able to have our employees help and spread some holiday cheer in the community,” said Dave Tabata, energy efficiency and consumer programs manager for AEP Ohio.

“The staff and residents of Huckleberry House are all wonderful. They really have warmed our hearts – so much so that we hope to be back next year to provide more lights and an even brighter holiday.”

Learn more about getting involved with Huckleberry House.

CVS Acquires Aetna, No Immediate Changes Expected

CVS recently completed its acquisition of the insurance company Aetna.

For AEP, Aetna provides:

  • Medical coverage for retirees age 65 and over.
  • Dental coverage for active employees, and all retirees (both under and over age 65).

CVS has stated that there are no immediate changes to employee or retiree benefits or how Aetna will support them. In addition, the provider and pharmacy networks are not changing as a result of the two companies coming together.

Aetna will continue to operate under the same name, and participants can continue to contact Aetna customer service using the 1-800 number on their member ID card.

Price is Right for Retiree

Terry Cory with Drew Carey on “the Price is Right”

(Story by Tracy Warner)

Retiree Terry Cory, a 40-year AEP veteran, recently gave his family a big surprise.

Eight weeks after attending a taping of “The Price is Right,” Terry watched the show with his family – and they learned then that he won a car.

Terry’s appearance on the popular TV game show was featured in a story on Indianapolis television recently.

Terry retired in 2008 as a senior equipment specialist for AEP Transmission based in Muncie.

Obituaries

AEP Energy

George Sheafer, 70, Bammell Field Team Office, died September 22.

Malcolm Veal, 65, Elmwood Convent Fleet & Repair, died September 19.

AEP Service Corporation

Josephine Orlando, 97, retired, Rockefeller Center, died September 18.

Appalachian Power Company

Robert Coffman, 88, retired, Bb&T Building, died October 4.

Edward Gavin, 77, retired, Fieldale Office, died October 1.

Teddy McComas, 86, retired, Huntington Office, died September 29.

Raymond Sisk Jr., 69, Sporn Plant, died October 6.

Betty Snead, 79, retired, Clinch River Plant, died October 7.

Melvin Wilson Jr., 78, retired, Roanoke Main Office, died September 27.

Robert Wilson Jr., 80, retired, Central Machine Shop, died October 7.

Columbus Southern Power Company

Ray Burns, 76, Conesville Prep Plant, died September 26.

William Shannon, 69, Conesville Plant, died October 17.

Edward Vichich, 82, retired, Columbus Southwest Service Center, died October 29.

Indiana Michigan Power Company

Cathy Martin, 70, One Summit Square, died September 29.

Jack Mucia, 86, retired, Buchanan Service Center, died September 26.

Charles Murphy, 92, retired, Cook Nuclear Plant, died September 30.

William Nichols, 71, Cook Nuclear Plant, died October 2.

Charles Potts Jr., 66, Cook Nuclear Plant, died October 7.

Francis Schmidt, 94, retired, Mishawaka Hydro, died October 9.

Kentucky Power Company

Clara Peters, 91, retired, Hazard Office, died October 10.

Ohio Power Company

Paul Foos, 79, retired, Tiffin Service Center, died October 2.

Charles Gill, 99, retired, Zanesville Office, died October 22.

Dencil Henthorn Jr., 69, Mitchell Plant, died October 20.

Kevin Jackson, 58, Gavin Plant, died October 21.

Charles Lowe, 92, retired, East Liverpool Office Building, died October 15.

Robert McCaig, 85, retired, Canton Eastern Regional Office, died October 22.

Karl Smith, 71, retired, Cardinal Plant, died October 29.

John Steiner, 92, retired, Cardinal Plant, died October 12.

George Wagner, 91, retired, Lima Office, died October 19.

Charles Wood, 78, retired, Southern Ohio Coal Company, died October 10.