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Natural Gas Utility Focuses Energy on Giving Back During Improving Life Week

Natural Gas Utility Focuses Energy on Giving Back During Improving Life Week
Courtesy/ Black Hills Energy.

LINCOLN, Neb. — When Black Hills Energy employees parked their trucks and put boots to the ground in the communities it serves, Judy Duckworth of Scottsbluff felt an extra jolt of holiday spirit.

Judy was having issues keeping the pilot light lit on a water heater she had purchased from a local vendor and installed just three short years ago. She called Black Hills, and Hagen Guzman, service technician, went to her home, only to find that the water heater wasn’t approved for installation in her mobile home. The only solution was for her to purchase another water heater that was approved for this type of application.

She was disappointed but understood and asked if she could hire Black Hills Energy to do the installation she could count on it being right. Guzman agreed and gave her an estimate for labor as well as specifics on the type of equipment she needed to purchase.

Judy went to one of the local big box stores and found the water heater she needed. She then arranged for Hagen to install the water heater, which he did that same day.

But when Guzman finished the installation, he told Judy that there would be no charge for his service and that this was a donation from Black Hills Energy during its “Improving Life Week.”

But the energy company didn’t limit its volunteer efforts to just Scottsbluff.

From Dec. 11-17:

  • Sixteen employee volunteers joined in the United Way Season of Service and volunteered at City Impact, a Lincoln nonprofit organization that empowers under-resourced communities through holistic youth, family and neighborhood development. Employees served as gift wrappers and shopping helpers for the Gifts of Love – Shopping with Dignity program. Gifts of Love has been providing Christmas with dignity to families-in-need for over 20 years.
  • Team members are participating in the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce’s Ole Time Christmas celebration.
  • The Papillion operations team participated in The Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree toy drive.
  • Company volunteers were all aboard the Kearney North Pole Express to serve hot cocoa and cookies to the kids who participated in the event.
  • In Beatrice, volunteers helped the Salvation Army sort donations earlier in the month.
  • In McCook, volunteers helped help deliver meals on wheels and at the humane society.
  • From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 13, the Columbus team rang bells for the Salvation Army.
  • In O’Neill volunteers assisted with the Rotary Club Annual Christmas Closet which provides an opportunity for those in need of an extra Christmas blessing.

Last year, the energy company celebrated its first Improving Life Day by donating 110 appliances to nonprofits in Nebraska. This year, they wanted to give every employee a chance to go a step further and have time to give back to an organization that had meaning to them.

“Our mission is improving life with energy,” said Jeff Sylvester, Black Hills Energy vice president of natural gas operations for Nebraska. “It takes the energy of all of us to makes sure everyone in our communities is supported and feels successful. If we don’t dedicate our time and resources to the health and vitality of the community, then we aren’t really doing our job.”

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