As more than a thousand competitors and spectators converge on Colorado Springs for the American Public Power Association’s Lineworkers Rodeo on March 30, 115 Colorado Springs Utilities employee volunteers will be working behind the scenes to make the event a reality.
In fact, according to Jontell Heffernan, volunteer coordinator for the Rodeo and a senior analyst for Springs Utilities, the response from employees has exceeded expectations.
“When we first realized we’d need more than 100 volunteers to support the Rodeo, we were concerned recruitment could be a challenge. The competition is scheduled for a Saturday and is adjacent to spring break for many employee families,” says Heffernan. “In hindsight, the concern was unfounded because we’ve exceeded our goals and we’re having to turn away volunteers. We actually have a waiting list.”
The importance of employee volunteer support cannot be overstated. They are helping to make a national event like the Lineworkers Rodeo attainable and affordable for Colorado Springs. That’s great news for local businesses and residents, as estimates point to the Lineworkers Rodeo bringing in well over $1 million to the local economy.
The enthusiastic response from employee volunteers to support the Rodeo is not a new development. Rather, it is a long-standing legacy that took formal shape in 1997 with the establishment of the Community Focus Fund (CFF).
From the CFF mission statement:
“Colorado Springs Utilities recognizes that our strength and vitality depend on the education, health and welfare of the communities in which we operate. The Community Focus Fund is committed to enhancing this quality of life by supporting our employee volunteer efforts and community involvement.”
The impact of the CFF and employee volunteers on Colorado Springs transcends numbers, but they do paint an impressive picture. In 2018, 891 Springs Utilities employees (and family) volunteered for 115 community projects – donating 4,549 hours of their time on weekends and after hours – all unpaid!
Community efforts supported by employee volunteers include staffing the local soup kitchen, helping with food sorts, delivering monthly meals to homebound residents, participating in community clean up events and supporting back to school shopping for families in need.