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June 26, 2019

Celebrating a Community of Inclusion

AEP employees, including many Pride Employee Resource Group (ERG) members in Columbus, Charleston and Tulsa participated in Pride events this month, including parades, festivals, runs and other community activities. 

In Charleston, W. Va., about 15 Appalachian Power employees and their families celebrated Pride Month at the Rainbow Pride Parade, organized by Rainbow Pride of West Virgina. Appalachian Power and its Pride ERG were among the sponsors who hosted information booths along the city’s Haddad Riverfront.

"As a member of both the LGBT+ community and the APCO family, it was truly amazing to see both of my worlds colliding," said Mickey Crisp, customer operations associate, Hurricane Customer Operations Center. "When I began performing in drag two years ago, the thought never crossed my mind that I would attend an event alongside my employers. However, upon joining the AEP family a little over a year ago in the midst of a culture change, I have never been made to feel like an outsider. Appalachian Power’s participation in events such as Pride stems from our recent culture shift, which gives employees such as myself a sense of security, dignity, and community."

In Tulsa, Okla., Public Service Company of Oklahoma employees celebrated with a record crowd of 29,000 people at the city’s 20th anniversary Pride Festival. PSO sponsored 20 runners in the festival’s 5k run and many other employees walked in the parade.

In Columbus, the Stonewall Columbus LGBTQ Pride Parade drew a crowd of 500,000, including 123 AEP employees and their families who marched in the parade. AEP was a Gold Sponsor of the 38th annual event.

 “It’s exciting to see how far we have come! Our presence in the Pride Parade enhances our brand in the community and demonstrates our desire to respect and embrace everyone,” said Julie Sloat, senior vice president, Treasury & Finance, who along with Lisa Barton, executive vice president, Utilities, are executive sponsors of the PRIDE ERG. “It’s an absolute privilege to be a part of this organization,” she added.

“The experience can be described as one of happiness, togetherness, excitement, acceptance and love. It was a wonderful time. We’ve come a long way,” said Dale Heydlauff, senior vice president, Corporate Communications, who walked in the parade with his wife Gloria.

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