Back in 2009 on a Sunday morning my company, Consumer Energy Solutions, suffered a devastating fire. It was Sunday so we were not open and no one was there. But it took nearly 3 hours and 47 firefighters to extinguish the fire. Even though the blaze was contained within 25 minutes, a roof fire kept the responders there for two more hours.
At one point a firefighter fell through the roof but thankfully, he was up and walking around by day’s end and released from the hospital.
I was faced with some major decisions. Unless I could figure out how to move forward, many layoffs would happen. People would lose their jobs, families would suffer and the game would be basically over.
With the help of my stellar crew and very good friends in the community, we quickly found temporary quarters, got new equipment and basically worked around the clock so we could open back up within days. NOT ONE PERSON WAS LAID OFF!
I have never forgotten this. And the cooperation and support from some very special folks in the community is something I will treasure always.
Every year around the 4th of July we have a big barbeque and celebrate the fact that we survived the fire, rebuilt and found ourselves doing bigger and better things! And we invite our amazing Clearwater Fire Department to our barbeque!
Recently my Customer Service Department brought to my attention the plight of one of our customers, Skyview Ranch Christian Camp in Millersburg, Ohio.
On Sunday, November 10, 2019 they went through their own devastating fire that destroyed their offices, dining hall and kitchen causing $1.5 million in damage! (Circled on the map.)
Skyview Ranch is a Christian Camp that offers 7 different weeks of summer camp from June – August. The rest of the year they offer events for all ages and they host groups from all over Ohio. For many this is a place called home for the summer. They have done so much good for children and their families over the past 50 years that I decided we should help them.
CES employees raise funds for various charities two ways. Each week we have a “Dress-down Thursday.” This gives the employees an opportunity to wear more casual clothes to work. For a donation of $1.00 they can wear jeans. For $3.00 they can wear a baseball cap to work and for $5.00 they can wear shorts. Our employees do this every week. And all funds raised over the month go to a charity.
Additionally, we play a 50/50 raffle each week. Every week we sell $1.00 raffle tickets. Employees can purchase as many as they want. Then at our Tuesday staff meeting we draw the winning ticket. The employee with that ticket wins half the funds raised and the other half goes to our charity for the month.
We unanimously got on board with helping out Skyview Ranch Christian Camp this month. All the funds our employees raise for January will go to Skyview to help with their rebuilding plans.
So what happens when a fire destroys your operation? People rise to the occasion and miracles happen!
I encourage everyone who reads this article to help out as they can. Here’s where you can donate to help Skyview Ranch: https://www.skyviewranch.org/give?fbclid=IwAR3qUEdyz7ZZPSuLCkHcxPBB_fS4nNnBS0amVkefZLQBbwDxtBjx0WKB52A
To learn more about Skyview’s activities visit their website at: