EIRP Workers Deliver Kindness During Turkey Drive

From spring through fall, it’s business as usual for the men and women of the Enhanced Infrastructure Replacement Program (EIRP) crew as they bring safe, affordable and reliable natural gas to our customers.

However, each November with bone-chilling temperatures and usually fresh snow on the ground, the crews return to deliver turkeys with all the fixings to customers who received pipeline upgrades just a few months earlier. That was the scene again this year on Nov. 22 as the team celebrated its 6th annual turkey drive, surprising customers with nearly 800 turkeys – all funded by the $18,000 the employees raised.IMG_5022

“It’s our way of saying thank you for allowing us into their neighborhoods and working with us so we can do our jobs to the best of our ability,” said Jodie Cook, a gas line construction operator for EIRP, who was doing her second turkey drive. “We want to thank them for being patient with us. We really appreciate them inviting us into their neighborhoods.”

Cook, who has been with EIRP for more than three years, was amazed how she was greeted with hugs, smiles, laughs and tears of joy in Standish, Sterling and Omer. That’s where she and her colleagues handed them a 12-pound turkey and a shopping bag of sides.

The parade of yellow vests and hardhats was replicated across other neighborhoods in the Kalamazoo area, Saginaw and Warren – where projects were completed this year to modernize Michigan’s natural gas infrastructure.

IMG_5018“When they want to hug you, it’s so personable. Giving back has never felt so good,” said Cook, who received about a dozen hugs. “You would’ve thought you handed them a thousand dollars. People don’t usually come to your house and hand out Thanksgiving dinner. They were very grateful. You could see it on their faces.”

EIRP employees have raised about $90,000 and handed out nearly 3,400 turkeys since the grassroots effort started in 2013, said Curtis Hays, an EIRP field leader.

“Year after year I’m simply in awe of how much this group sincerely cares about the people that we serve,” said Hays of the EIRP’s about 600 employees. “Some of our customers didn’t know what they were going to do for Thanksgiving dinner. Now thanks to our men and women, they don’t have to worry. This is something that our team looks forward to every year. I know I do.”