Alabama Power Southern Division Executive Secretary Menzella Kiser has always enjoyed being the “behind-the-scenes” person who makes the entire operation function smoothly. Her quiet nature may disguise her strengths – she is a hero.
“I enjoy helping to ensure that my manager and the entire team has the support that they need to enable them to do their jobs easier and more efficiently,” said Kiser. “I am proudest when I am helping my team with their A game.”
Kiser grew up living with her parents, sister and grandmother in a shotgun house in Montgomery. She appreciates the early struggles her family made so they could eventually build their own home.
She started working with the company as a stenographer in the Customer Service Center South. Thirty-five years later, she takes pride in her journey that has included roles in Transmission, Marketing and Power Delivery.
“Menzella is my unsung hero every day,” said Southern Division Vice President Leslie Sanders. “She keeps me straight; she keeps me going where I need to be going.”
Kiser has been an avid supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association since her late husband, Greg, began exhibiting symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2012. He was formally diagnosed in 2014.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that affects people younger than 65 and can lead to a decline in memory, reasoning and thinking abilities. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 5% of Alzheimer’s sufferers develop symptoms before 65.
“I didn’t have time for anything other than working full time to support us and being Greg’s caregiver,” said Kiser. She became involved with the Alzheimer’s Association when the River Region chairperson came to her office in 2016 seeking a contribution from the company for the local walk.
Kiser talked with her family because her mother-in-law was also suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, along with three of her mother-in-law’s siblings. The entire family agreed they would like to participate in the walk.
Team Kiser raised over $6,000 and had over 20 team members. The following year, their team grew to 61 members and raised almost $10,000 through hosting events and yard sales.
In 2019, Greg’s health rapidly declined and he died on June 20 at the age of 59.
It was a hard decision for Kiser to commit to walk in 2019 because Greg had walked the 2-mile stretch with his family every year. Kiser talked it over with the family and they wanted to walk in his honor. They set out again as a family and crossed the finish line with arms outstretched to the heavens – for Greg.
They didn’t let COVID-19 stop them in 2020. On walk day, they set out again as a family and walked on their property in Pike Road, determined to not let anything stop them.
Kiser continues to support efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and to support other families dealing with the disease.
“I made a promise to Greg, and I made a promise to myself that I would continue to fight,” she said. “There’s still so much work that needs to be done.”