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Alabama Power employees celebrate MLK Day by giving back to communities

Contemplating ways to better the community, sharing ideals of justice and unity, and giving back are some of the ways Alabama Power employees celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic and social distancing needs, many members of the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) found ways to honor King’s legacy and help their communities.

Jason Watters was among Magic City APSO Chapter members who took part in a 1-mile Freedom Walk in King’s commemoration. Afterward, he made a lifesaving blood donation to help restore the nation’s blood banks, which are running low because of the novel coronavirus.

Watters made the most of the day by involving his two young sons in MLK Day activities.

“Especially with my eldest being 5 years old, my wife and I try to be very intentional about what we teach,” said Watters, recruiting consultant for HR Talent Acquisition at Alabama Power. “It was very important for us to show it’s not a day off or a ‘break’ because he was off from school. Although my sons are both fairly young, it’s extremely important to me that they know we don’t ‘sit around’ on King Day. We walked around Kelly Ingram Park and saw the Sixteenth Baptist Church. From a 5-year-old’s filter, it allowed me to talk about who Dr. King was and why it’s important to learn about his mission.”

Magic City’s Billy Sanford completed his 1-mile Freedom Walk at Railroad Park in Birmingham. Sanford, an applications analyst in Metering, gave blood at UAB as part of the Day of Service.

Through Jan. 31, Magic City APSO is helping keep Birmingham warm with donations to Firehouse Ministries Homeless Shelter, the Salvation Army and the Boutwell Auditorium Warming Station.

Power Delivery Project Manager Jeremy Prickett and his wife, Amy, with their son and daughter, completed their Freedom Walk at Civitan Park in Trussville. “My family and I took part in the Freedom Walk to honor the memory of Dr. King and demonstrate our support for his ideals,” said Prickett, who earned an MBA at UAB and has worked at Alabama Power nearly 18 years.

Several Magic City members contemplated the meaning of MLK Day on the chapter Facebook page, by providing videos in which they shared quotes and stories from King that promote equality, justice and service.

Eastern Division APSO members will recognize medical staff on the COVID-19 unit at Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center in Anniston by providing a free lunch on Jan. 20. About 40 hospital staff will enjoy gourmet fare from an Anniston eatery.

Some Gaston APSO members worked in individual cleanups to honor King’s legacy of helping build community. For instance, Gaston APSO chapter President Tabetha Lemonds and a friend scoured the roadside of their Chelsea neighborhood, removing garbage such as discarded cups and bags. Longtime Gaston APSO member Jodi Webb, with her husband and two youngsters, performed a mini-cleanup in Hollins to help beautify the community. Webb and her family removed debris from the roadside, collecting several sacks for a local dumpster. Gaston members Karen White and her husband, Woody, spent two hours cleaning windows in downtown Childersburg as part of their service project.

Through the first week of February, Mobile Division APSO members will fill donation barrels at 13 Alabama Power business locations, including crew headquarters. As part of the socially distanced project, employees are donating blankets and warm clothing for clients of the Waterfront Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army in Mobile.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)