Alabama Power Volunteers and Habitat for Humanity Dedicate Home for Tornado Survivors

Alabama Power Service Organization volunteers are dedicating their ninth Habitat for Humanity home today. The home is built in partnership with a family in Rock Creek who survived the tornado that struck West Jefferson County on April 8, 1998.

Donette Nicholas is the proud owner of the new home that will be dedicated at 2 p.m. today at 7233 Don's Drive. Ms. Nicholas is the mother of a six- year-old son, Ethan. They have been waiting for two years for a Habitat home. Ms. Nicholas has contributed more than 300 hours of "sweat equity" on her home and other Habitat Homes to become a partner family. She is the sister of Donna Miller, who lives in a Habitat for Humanity home next-door that was also built by Alabama Power volunteers.

"The Alabama Power Service Organization has been an incredible partner with Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity, building more homes than any other sponsor," said Greta Clark, interim director of Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity. "We truly appreciate the commitment of the Alabama Power Service Organization to rebuild homes and rebuild lives in Jefferson County."

"Time and again, Alabama Power's commitment to Habitat -- by providing funding and a team of volunteers who are skilled craftsmen -- has greatly contributed to the success of our mission in the past few years," said Clark. More than 150 Alabama Power volunteers worked to build the three-bedroom house in a week-long blitz build.

"Helping to rebuild Ms. Nicholas' house is a worthwhile project and something I ought to do," said Dennis Pugh, line clearing specialist in Alabama Power's Western Division and one of two project leaders who oversaw work on the house. "When I first drove through the neighborhood recently, it sent cold chills because I remember working in that area to restore power after the 1998 tornado. If I have memories, I know that Ms. Nicholas' memories must be worse. That's why I want to help her get her life back to normal."

After the April 8, 1998, tornado, Alabama Power employees restored service to 21,000 customers in two days. The deadly F-5 tornado hit the Rock Creek area particularly hard. Some Alabama Power employees were among the first in the area, helping clear roads for rescue workers. It was clear employees wanted to do more to help. Alabama Power partnered with Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity to build the first Habitat house in the tornado-damaged areas. Since that time, Alabama Power volunteers have built nine Habitat homes.

The dedication ceremony today includes a presentation of a family Bible, new house keys and the Habitat Hammer to Ms. Nicholas. The house blessing will be officiated by Reverend Henry Staggs of Rock Creek Church of God. Remarks will be made by David DeMoors, a Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity homeowner and board member; Robert Holmes, senior vice president of Alabama Power and chairman of the Alabama Power Foundation; and Elmer Harris, chairman and CEO of Alabama Power; and others.

Greater Birmingham Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based non-profit housing organization, providing decent affordable houses in partnership with families in need. Homes are built using volunteer labor and donated materials. Partner families participate in the construction of their own new home and those of other families -- people helping people, building relationships and communities. Homes are sold to Habitat partner families through no-profit, no-interest mortgages. Habitat home mortgage payments are reinvested to help build more Habitat houses. For more information about Habitat for Humanity, call (205) 780-1234.

Alabama Power provides affordable, reliable electric service to 1.3 million customers in the lower two-thirds of Alabama. Alabama Power owns and operates a total of 22 electric generating plants. Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company , which operates more than 32,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Southeast. Southern Company is one of the largest producers of electricity in the United States.


SOURCE: Alabama Power

Contact: Sandi George of Alabama Power Company, 205-257-4155, or ; or Deania Towns of Habitat for Humanity,