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Alabama Power Service Organization chapters across the state make MLK Day about serving others

“Every now and then, I think about my own death, and I think about my own funeral. … Every now and then, I ask myself, ‘What is it that I would want said?’ I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

For the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO), the key word all year long is service, but it is rarely more apparent than on MLK Day.

In recognition of the national holiday celebrating the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., APSO chapters all across the company’s service territory participated Monday in service projects to assist and uplift their communities.

From 5K runs, to cleanup days, to sock donations, dozens of volunteers throughout the organization gave their time and resources in honor of the iconic civil rights leader who made service his life’s philosophy.

“Being able to honor the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy with service projects across Alabama is very much in alignment with APSO’s values,” said Andrew Rhodes, a communications specialist on Alabama Power’s Charitable Giving staff. “For decades, APSO has provided Alabama Power employees with intentional opportunities to support the needs of the diverse communities where we live, work and serve.”

This year was no different. APSO projects recognizing MLK Day included:

  • APSO’s Gaston Chapter assisted with a community cleanup in Wilsonville.
  • Volunteers from the Miller Chapter served breakfast at the Jimmie Hale Mission on MLK Day.
  • The Mobile Chapter partnered with the National Estuary Program (NEP) and APSO’s Barry Chapter to install residential rain barrels Jan. 14.
  • The Western Chapter delivered more than 100 pairs of socks for men, women and children to the Salvation Army homeless shelter in Tuscaloosa prior to MLK Day.
  • The Magic City Chapter assisted with the 6th Annual MLK Day 5K Drum Run this past weekend in the Fourth Avenue Historic District of Birmingham’s Civil Rights District. Race participants came from diverse populations that include all demographics, races, cultures, genders and creeds to celebrate the meaning of the holiday in a fun way that encouraged fitness. The race featured drumlines from Birmingham metro schools and organizations that lined up along the course to keep the beat as runners and walkers made their way.
  • The Magic City Chapter sent volunteers to help with the Five Points West community cleanup, which is in its 21st year. The Five Points West cleanup is one of several city MLK Day cleanups that have been ongoing for many years.

“The Magic City’s projects were outdoors because we haven’t moved back to indoor projects yet,” said Shenita Baker, customer accounting analyst for Alabama Power and an APSO volunteer with the Magic City Chapter. “We’re doing in-person but outside events only.”

Baker talked about the value of serving on MLK Day.

“It’s important because, even though we serve all the time, in honor of Dr. King’s legacy we’re staying engaged to strengthen the community and bridge barriers that communities have,” she said. “We try to support and find solutions that communities may need assistance with. Also, working in the community, you’re working with different people with different backgrounds, and we’re trying to bring people together. That’s something Dr. King worked on.”

Baker said the Five Points West cleanup was a success. Nearly 100 people participated in the cleanup throughout the day in west Birmingham. Registration was at the Birmingham CrossPlex and then groups fanned out to several neighborhoods. Volunteers included employees of  Alabama Power and Southern Nuclear and their families, Birmingham City Schools and Miles College students, area residents, neighborhood association leaders and City Councilor Carole Clark. United Way/Hands On Birmingham helped coordinate the event.

“It was an awesome feeling to have people passing by blowing their horns to say thank you,” Baker said. “A simple gesture of picking up trash made a big impact in the community. We look forward to other partnerships in the future.”

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Staff writer Michael Sznajderman contributed to this report.