Midwest delivers washer, dryer

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Midwest volunteers deliver appliances to the Smith family of Marcellus.

Midwest volunteers deliver appliances to the Smith family of Marcellus.

A small group of Midwest employees represented their peers and touched the life of a Marcellus family with the donation and delivery of a washer and dryer set Thursday. The donation was made through the Midwest Employees Give Back (MEGB) fund, a charitable giving fund operated, governed and funded by the employees of Midwest Energy Cooperative and Midwest Propane.

The appliances were donated to the Dustin and Kristen Smith family, co-op members who live in Marcellus.

The Smiths have an infant son with Spinal Muscular Atrophy 1 (SMA), a disease with no cure or treatment. Connor was born in September 2012 and diagnosed in January. After 60 days in a pediatric intensive care unit, he was discharged for home-based hospice care.

As the Smiths’ deal with the reality that Connor won’t likely live to his first birthday, they have become advocates for SMA and other families dealing with this diagnosis. One of their ongoing household struggles was keeping up with laundry as their dryer no longer worked and the washer required manual changes between cycles.

A Midwest employee applied for funds to support the family with the donation of a washer and dryer, and the special delivery, along with a couple of baskets of laundry supplies, was made on Thursday.

“There are so many needs in our community, and our employees tend to see and hear about a lot of tough circumstances through our respective roles at Midwest, and also through our relationships as members of the local community,” said Patty Nowlin, director of communications and community relations at Midwest Energy Cooperative.

More than $16,000 was pledged by employees during each of the first three program years. Two-thirds of the funds collected are donated to select charities as determined annually by the employee base, and the remaining funds are reserved for distribution to local organizations and efforts as requested by members of the employee family and approved by the Employee Involvement Committee. All applications for funds must be sponsored by a Midwest employee.

“There were many tears as we spent time with Dustin and Kristen and learned more about their family and Connor’s story. It gives you pause to think about your own life and circumstances and give thanks for the many blessings that we have. I’m incredibly proud to be part of this employee family who cares enough to personally support those in need right here in our own back yard,” said Jennifer Gilliam, a Midwest employee who assisted with Thursday’s delivery.

Learn more about SMA, follow Connor’s story and see how you can support the family at facebook.com/prayersforconnor.