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Appalachian Power employees read to elementary students

Matthew Thompson, Community Contributor • Nov 25, 2017 at 4:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Students at Jackson and Washington elementary schools had special visitors earlier this month. Andy Shaffron and Emily Ball, both Appalachian Power employees in Kingsport, each read a book to students at one of the schools and donated it to the library.

The event was part of Read to Me Day, an annual tradition in which Appalachian Power employees volunteer to read to students at schools throughout the company’s West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee service territory. This year, 319 employees will read to students at 424 schools. The program began in 2001 and is now in its 17th year. The company estimates its workers have read to more than 250,000 students and donated approximately 6,000 books.

“Being read aloud to can be such a magical experience for kids. It’s so rewarding for our readers to witness that,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “Our reason for devoting so much effort to Read to Me Day is to reach as many children as possible with the magic of a good story. Children who enjoy books will read more. Ultimately, they’ll be better readers and do better in school.”

Shaffron and Ball read and donated the book “Rose Revere, Engineer,” written by Andrea Beaty.

“It’s always exciting to have a visitor in school,” said Jeri Matheney, Appalachian Power communications director. “When that visitor brings a book to read, it’s even more special. And it’s certainly a big change from an ordinary day for our line mechanics, meter readers and call center representatives who volunteer to read. It makes for a memorable day for both the kids and the employees.”

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, the latter as AEP Appalachian Power. It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high-voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.

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