IBEW members’ good works are expressed through volunteer efforts by hundreds of brothers and sisters in communities throughout the United States and Canada each year.

The IBEW-AEP partnership raised $1.5 million last year. Accepting the United Way’s Engaged Leadership Advocacy Award are from left, Dan German, president and business manager, Columbus, Ohio, Local 1466; 2013 AEP-IBEW Local 1466 United Way Community Champs Nathan Bronder and Ashley Weaver; and Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Sometimes the level of giving is off the charts. A prime example is the success of the Columbus Ohio, Local 1466-American Electric Power United Way Campaign, which received the Engaged Leadership Advocacy Award from United Way of Central Ohio for 2014.

“Volunteering and giving back to the community are what union members do,” said Local 1466 Business Manager Daniel German. “Once you join the Brotherhood it really becomes second nature. We are privileged to donate our time and help our neighbors.”

The Engaged Leadership Advocacy Award honors efforts to support the United Way Campaign. For the 2014 campaign, Local 1466 raised $1.5 million, with $983,301 donated by active and retired members. For the last three years American Electric Power has made a 50-cent match for every dollar raised by the union.

"It’s gratifying for all of us to receive this recognition. It reflects the strong effort our team has put into the campaign. We have a year-round engagement with the United Way, including a union member on their steering committee.  American Electric Power has treated us as an equal partner in all of their publications, including recognition of our union in media materials. That level of respect gave us a welcome boost,” German said.

The Local 1466-American Electric Power United Way Campaign collaboration began in the 1960s. In the 1990s, union members were given the option of donating through payroll deductions, when Barry “Bubba” Hickle became the driving force that started Local 1446 and AEP working together at a higher level.

Hickle mapped out a six-month campaign that included giving speeches to union members about donating to the United Way and organizing community service projects.

Hickle focused the campaign on 25 union garages, recruiting a steward and an assistant for each garage. “I tried to set a tone where participation was more important than how much money we paid in. And I always brought food,” he said. By the end of the six-month campaign, member contributions rose from 30 percent to 100 percent.

IBEW members also contributed their time and skills to a variety of community service projects as part of the campaign, including volunteering at a Girl Scout camp, painting and rewiring buildings and installing meter boxes. They also participated at a YMCA care day and in a variety of local cleanup projects.

As part of the Local 1466 United Way Campaign for 2014 young leaders volunteered to donate their time to a day of action in support of a variety of community projects in Columbus. Union members served hungry families at a local community kitchen and participated in a soap drive for Lutheran social services, which benefits Faith Mission and Choices, a domestic violence shelter.