Employees donate time, energy into local communities during Week of Service

Rescue dogs took a walk and returned to clean kennels. One of the last paddle-wheel boats on the Missouri River got a fresh coat of paint. Families in need got a hot meal, and bags of food were prepared for a supplemental summer food program for children. These are just some of the incredible things that can happen when a company directs its energy to making a positive difference in the community.

Employees proudly represented Great River Energy by volunteering at a number of nonprofit organizations as part of its annual Week of Service held June 11-15.

“Concern for community is a guiding principle of cooperatives and Great River Energy’s Week of Service is just one way we demonstrate this principle,” said John Bauer, director of North Dakota generation.

Across Minnesota and North Dakota, employees were invited to participate in a variety of volunteer opportunities.

employee taking part in work outdoors as part of the second annual week of service

Aslam Hayat, senior forecaster, volunteers at Eagle’s Healing Nest during Great River Energy’s second annual Week of Service.

On a rainy June 11, volunteers helped at Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue in Bismarck, N.D., by walking dogs, cleaning kennels and organizing donations. In Minnesota, volunteers weeded, planted and mulched The Food Group’s on-site garden and packaged more than 900 pounds of food – the equivalent of 765 meals.

On Tuesday, volunteers helped paint, clean and landscape for Eagle’s Healing Nest, a Minnesota organization renovating several unused historic buildings into housing for veterans.

At the Community Aid Elk River (CAER) Food Shelf on Wednesday, volunteers helped sort and pack food for its Kids Kits supplemental summer food program.

“Spending time at CAER makes you feel a little more grateful for all the blessings you have in your own home,” said Eileen Bloch, data controls coordinator at Great River Energy.

Across the border, volunteers from Spiritwood Station cleaned and spruced up meeting locations in Spiritwood, N.D. In Bismarck, volunteers chopped vegetables, waited on tables, served food, washed dishes and cleaned at the Soup Café, a local soup kitchen.

“What an amazing experience,” said Rich Garman, senior project manager, business development, and volunteer at the Soup Café. “I had the opportunity to talk with a few of the folks and their stories were fascinating. I was very happy to have the opportunity to volunteer at the Soup Café, and appreciative of the volunteer hours allotted to us by Great River Energy that made this experience possible.”

Great River Energy grants most employee 12 hours of paid volunteer time they can dedicate to causes that benefit communities served by its member-owner cooperatives or where its employees live and work.

A team of volunteers also applied a fresh coat of paint to the Sioux Ferry in Washburn, N.D.,one of the last paddle-wheel ferries on the Missouri River, while the historic Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River, Minn., was the place to be on Thursday as employees spruced up the farmstead, worked in the gardens and built a livestock pen.

Between Minnesota and North Dakota, 87 employees donated 290 hours of their time to local communities during Week of Service.