Employees at Alabama Power’s Plant Gaston on Thursday made magic happen for a special child, sending 9-year-old Micah and his family on a trip of a lifetime.
Micah (pronounced “Meekah”) suffers from a severe form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome or LGS, which causes multiple seizures. Micah also has cerebral palsy. He is nonverbal and confined to a wheelchair.
Working with the Alabama nonprofit Magic Moments, Gaston employees and members of the Gaston chapter of the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) raised funds to send Micah, his 5-year-old sister, 1-year-old brother and their parents on an all-expense-paid trip to Disney World. The family, from Anniston, leaves Sunday and will stay for a week at Give Kids the World Village, an 89-acre resort near Disney World that provides special accommodations, activities and entertainment for families of critically ill children.
“Everybody at the plant participated,” said Tabetha Lemonds, a power generation analyst and outgoing president of Gaston’s APSO chapter.
“It’s amazing to see how all our employees pull together. It’s something they have a passion for: helping children,” said Lemonds, who will continue as a member of the APSO state board.
Indeed, Gaston employees on Thursday devised and participated in a detailed and intricate “reveal” for Micah and his family, at the plant. When the family arrived, they were greeted at the plant gate with balloons and decorations. As they drove into the plant with a special escort, employees brandished signs of welcome and, then, unveiled the special message that Micah and his family were “going to Disney World.”
Micah visited with the plant’s Fuels group, which set up a display of heavy equipment, to the youngster’s delight. Micah received a toy truck, a Disney gift card and an Alabama Power hardhat signed by Gaston employees.
Micah’s mother was effusive in thanking the Gaston employees for all they had done, which included holding a dessert fundraiser last spring to raise money for Magic Moments so the organization could move forward on identifying a family, planning and paying for a trip. In one day, plant employees collected $8,400, which covered the Magic Moments sponsorship and paid for a canned food distribution. The food was provided to four area pantries for needy families during the Southern Company Month of Service last May.
“It was fabulous … just absolutely incredible,” Magic Moments Executive Director Sandy Naramore said about the event for Micah and his family. “We cannot make our magic happen without people like Alabama Power. Everybody at the plant was involved. It was over the top.”
Based in Birmingham, Magic Moments makes wishes come true for children with chronic, life-threatening diseases. Typically, about 100 magic moments take place every year. To date, the 37-year-old organization has delivered more than 5,000 magic moments to children from all 67 Alabama counties, Naramore said.
She said witnessing those moments is always meaningful – especially to those who made the moment happen.
“When they witness it firsthand, and they get to be the magic makers and present to the child, that is the magical moment. That’s when they realize what they have done for this child.”
“They were so awesome,” Naramore said of the Gaston employees. She said it was thrilling for her and the Magic Moments team “to be there with you guys. It was magical for us.”
Click here to learn more about the Alabama Power Service Organization and how Alabama Power employees and retirees volunteer their time and personal resources to serve others.