The local electric cooperative is bringing a brighter Christmas to some area children with more than the electricity it provides.
Co-Mo Electric employees and board members donated more than $2,600 to adopt 72 kids from the Giving Trees at two banks in the cooperative's service territory. That $2,600 turned into hundreds of Christmas presents that filled the children's Christmas wish lists.
Commerce Bank in Tipton and the Bank of Versailles in Laurie each year put up displays with tags in the shapes of bears that have the ages and genders of children whose family is in need of assistance to provide a gift-filled Christmas. Throughout the year, Co-Mo employees who choose to can have money set aside from their paycheck to meet these Christmas wishes. In addition to the payroll deductions, Co-Mo employees give one-time donations for this effort.
"Every time we have a new employee who starts with us, we tell them: "This is a really special place to work and there are always opportunities to help out in your community.' This is another example of how that's the case," said Ken Johnson, the cooperative's CEO and general manager.
The Tipton effort is coordinated by accounting clerk Margaret Sanders, while the Laurie push is led by customer service representative Robin Reed.
Sanders and fellow Finance Department employee Jennifer Prey braved the Thanksgiving evening and Black Friday crowds to take advantage of sales so the donated money would stretch further.
"Everyone here becomes emotionally attached to the bears on the Giving Tree, and every year we are in awe and very moved with how Co-Mo is willing to give to so many families. This assures that these children, along with the parents, will have favorable holiday memories," said Commerce Bank Business Banking Representative Denny Higgins.
The $2,600 raised was double what the cooperative's employees gave just two years ago.
"Seeing the generosity of our employees and board members, it's a humbling thing," Johnson said. "The fact that their generosity brings joys to kids at Christmas, well, that makes it even more special."