Alabama Power unsung hero Katie Glenn shines in her community, at work

Alabama Power unsung hero Katie Glenn shines in her community, at work
Katie Glenn works at Alabama Power's H. Neely Henry Dam. (Dennis Washington / Alabama NewsCenter)

H. Neely Henry Hydro Plant Superintendent Jeff Harris calls Katie Glenn the “Mama Hen” of the facility, adding that her caring support of her co-workers and community shines through everything she does.

“Katie takes care of everybody here at the plant,” said Harris. “She is the one who makes sure we are comfortable and have everything we need, and calls to check on us when we’re not at the plant. She also leads in her community through her church and her participation in the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO). She has a love for people.”

Katie Glenn is an Alabama Power unsung hero at work and in her community from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Glenn’s love for others has been evident since the pandemic began, Harris said. With many people out of work and struggling to buy groceries and other necessities as a result of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis, she is doing her part to help lift that load.

Every other Tuesday morning, Glenn can be found at her church, Mountain Home Baptist in Sycamore, helping bag and hand out fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need. The church has been hosting weekly food drives since July.

“We are giving the food to anybody who wants it,” said Glenn, plant auxiliary at H. Neely Henry Dam. “People just drive up in their car, we load the food into their trunk, and they keep going. It’s very safe because there’s no contact between us and them.”

Distributing food at her church has not been enough for Glenn. When she came across a flier in June seeking volunteers for a drive-thru food and supplies giveaway at the Talladega Superspeedway, she knew she wanted to help.

The NASCAR Foundation, the Joey Logano Foundation and Elevation Outreach Ministries brought a “Convoy of Hope” tractor-trailer with more than 38,000 pounds of food and hygiene products to the superspeedway to help people in the community affected by COVID-19. The event was three days before the much-anticipated NASCAR race at the superspeedway. Convoy of Hope is a traveling faith-based relief organization whose mission is to feed the hungry worldwide.

Glenn spent five hours on the evening of June 17 helping unload the trailer and fill bags with food, water, juices and toiletries. There were stuffed animals and sweets placed in bags for kids, she said.

Glenn returned to the superspeedway the next morning, where she helped load bags into the trunks of vehicles. Each family received four bags during the no-contact giveaway.

Since the pandemic began in March, Glenn and co-workers at Henry Dam have been rotating shifts to help maintain social distancing. Because she has been working every other week, Glenn wanted to stay busy by helping in her community.

“I felt useless, so I started checking fliers and the newspaper to see what I could do to volunteer my time, while social distancing,” Glenn said. “Volunteering makes me feel good. I would give my last dime and my last bit of energy if it meant I could help somebody who needed food, clothes on their back or money to pay their bills.”

The longtime plant auxiliary has myriad responsibilities at the dam. During the summer, one of Glenn’s biggest jobs is mowing the grass around the plant and in the facility park across the highway.

“Katie is one of the most efficient grass cutters you will ever meet,” Harris said. “She tries to make our lawn look like a golf course. She has her method and wants the grass to look a certain way, and I appreciate that.”

In addition to mowing, Glenn helps the hydro journeymen maintain and repair plant equipment, orders parts and completes work orders. She ensures that the fire extinguishers, fire alarms and automated external defibrillators at the plant and Alabama Power’s solar farm in the Anniston Army Depot are fully operational.

Glenn is the Upper Coosa wellness coordinator. In that role, she updates employees at Henry, Logan Martin and Weiss dams about changes and additions to Alabama Power’s wellness program.

Glenn also implemented a healthy snack alternative program, encouraging employees to replace their “usual” biscuits and soft drinks with fruit and water, and motivated them to begin exercising.

Glenn said safety is a top priority at Henry Dam.

“When we get there every morning, we have a safety briefing,” she said. “If something changes during the day or something we didn’t plan on happens, we stop right there and refocus on what we’re doing. It might just be a discussion to see what needs to be done or what went wrong or what we did that we didn’t have to do.”

Glenn said the plant’s six employees watch out for one another.

“We care about each other,” she said. “If we haven’t seen one of our co-workers for a while, we check to find out where he is. With any job you’re doing, somebody’s coming to check on you or bring you a drink – not just one time, but all during the day.”

Glenn joined Alabama Power in 1987 as a guard at Gaston Steam Plant and transferred to Henry Dam four years later. While at Gaston, she developed a passion for working in the community and volunteered at area schools with co-workers. Glenn joined the Eastern Division APSO Chapter about 20 years ago.

Glenn said her favorite APSO project in recent years has been assisting with the annual 5K runs at Henry, Logan Martin and Weiss dams benefiting the Unbreakable Fighters, a nonprofit that provides medical equipment, resources and relief funds to families who have children with disabilities. She helped hand out water, Gatorade and protein snacks to the runners, set up for the events, parked cars and assisted with plant tours.

“When you see those people with disabilities run or walk in the events, it melts your heart,” she said. “You realize you can’t complain about your own aches and pains when you see how happy they are.”

Glenn has volunteered for many APSO projects, including helping create sensory rooms at Gadsden and Childersburg high schools for special needs students, reading to children on Dr. Seuss Day and assisting with the annual Worlds of Work career fair in Oxford.

Glenn said she is grateful to Harris and her co-workers for allowing her time to volunteer for events.

“I love working with the guys at Henry Dam. They’re like family,” she said. “I’m not one of those feminists who say they have to do everything the guys do. They let me do what I’m going to do, and then, they pick up the slack. They treat me like a female.”

Glenn has a son, daughter and three granddaughters, ages 16, 14 and 12, and has raised her nephew. She enjoys reading and reminiscing with friends after church on Sunday afternoons.

“Katie is a hard worker, doesn’t have to be told what to do and is a valuable member of our team,” Harris said.

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