Annual event serves up fun, food, and fellowship to thank employees and their families –
By Patricia Beech –
American Electric Power (AEP) hosted its second annual Family Fun Day on Friday, Aug. 10 at the company’s Service Center in Seaman.
Kids attending the event had the opportunity to strap on a safety harness and ride a bucket truck 65 feet into the air, or play electricity-themed games like the “Transformer Smash” and “Woodpecker on a Wire”.
“We can’t do a ‘bring your kids to work day’ because our work is too dangerous,” said Michelle Ross, Manager of Distribution Systems for the AEP Chillicothe District which serves six Service Centers from Circleville to the Ohio River.
“Family Fun Day gives AEP the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the families of our line mechanics who spend so much time away from home working on outages and all the other issues we have to deal with to provide electricity to our customers.”
Chandra Freeland says she and her three children look forward to the yearly event.
“The kids really enjoy playing together, and I get to spend time with my husband’s co-workers and their families,” she said. ”It’s a very positive experience for our family.”
Ross says the event helps create a feeling of community among the employees and their families.
“We have a very young work force, and we don’t have a high turnover here,” she said. “Fun Day gives our families a chance to know each other better, and that’s very important because they’ll be spending the next 30 to 40 years together. They enjoy it, and based on the feedback I got last year, they’re all very appreciative to have the opportunity.”
The men and women who keep the power flowing to our hospitals, homes, stores, factories, and refineries rarely get much recognition from the public or the media, but without them, everything from traffic lights to personal computers go dark.
Despite working one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the country, utility line workers serve our communities often without anyone noticing or looking up to say “thank you”.
Line mechanics frequently have to repair damaged electrical lines while rain, wind, snow, and ice storms rage around them. They push themselves so that power is quickly restored, which can often lead to fatal mistakes.
Even in good weather, at nose-bleed heights, they’re required to handle high-voltage lines that can send thousands of volts surging through their bodies.
“Our employees give so much,” said Jeff Frasier, Distribution System Supervisor at the Seaman Service Center. “We’re in business to serve our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so our employees are constantly getting calls to come in and restore power so that our customers have service. Family Fun Day is just one small way we can give back some of the time we take away from their families – especially those special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas – it lets the families know that we understand it’s a hardship for them, but our customers appreciate it, and we appreciate their sacrifice.”