Teaming Up to Keep Families Safe

Louie the Lightning Bug – a.k.a. Donald Gaines – greets visitors, offering up friendly fist-bumps and high-energy high-fives.

August 15, 2019

The rain held off and the families came out, ready to explore the many safety-related demonstrations, activities and resources Ohio Edison’s Family Safety Day had in store for them.

Nearly 700 attendees, including employees, retirees and their families and friends, attended the Aug. 7 event at Youngstown Service Building that was months in the making.

“We started planning for Family Safety Day at the beginning of this year to ensure we were fully prepared,” said Rheannon Dick, customer account specialist, who helped coordinate children’s games and activities for the event. “It’s nice seeing everything come together and watching the families enjoy themselves.”

From planning to set-up and clean-up, dozens of employees chipped in to make the event a safe summer evening for the memory books.

In addition to games and activities for the children, Ohio Edison employees entertained guests with bucket truck rides; vehicle displays; pole climbing and drone demonstrations. Other activities included the Slip, Trip and Fall mobile simulator; a fire extinguisher simulator; and a dunk tank that benefited Harvest for Hunger.

Donald Gaines, supervisor, Regulated Operations Line & Substation, from Warren Service Center, dressed to impress as electric industry mascot, Louie the Lightning Bug. Disc-Jockey Ray Esterly, an engineer in FirstEnergy’s Central Electric Lab, donated his services, spinning tunes and handling announcements during the evening. And Oswaldo Figueroa Jr., an equipment mechanic with 40 years of service in the Youngstown garage, volunteered to take event photos.

Preparations also involved recruiting 11 of Ohio Edison’s partner organizations to participate.

“We reached out to the major partners we have relationships with and asked them to join us in educating families on a variety of safety topics,” said Troy Rhoades, consultant, Regional External Affairs, who orchestrated and managed event logistics for Ohio Edison. “I think they did a great job getting those messages out there in an accessible, engaging way.”

During the evening, Youngstown Police Department showed off their K9 dogs and Mahoning County Sherriff’s Department provided free identity kits for kids. DriveTeam challenged attendees to keep a golf cart on course while wearing impairment goggles – illustrating how alcohol consumption negatively affects driving ability. And Youngstown Fire Department showed families how it rescues accident victims from car wrecks. They also gave kids a coveted chance to sit in a fire truck and tour an EMS vehicle.

Ed Shuttleworth, Ohio Edison regional president, attended the event with his family and was impressed with everything it had to offer.

“This is my first time attending an Ohio Edison Family Safety Day and it’s really well done,” said Ed. “It brings the issue to life and shows just how personal safety really is. Seeing so many families come together to celebrate success and make their own personal commitments to safety is the most valuable part.”

Free pizza, face painting and souvenir bouncy bulbs filled with bright fluorescent goo created a fun atmosphere for many young guests.

Oswaldo Figueroa Jr. has volunteered to photograph many FirstEnergy events over the years – and Ohio Edison’s Family Safety Day provided the perfect opportunity for a touching farewell photo. Os retired Aug. 9 after 40 years of service at FirstEnergy.

Ed Shuttleworth (r.) and his daughter, Allyson, enjoy a bucket ride together assisted by Rob Moore, lineman, Kinsman Service Center.

Spectators gather to watch Youngtown Fire Department at work during a vehicle extraction safety demonstration.