Giving Back

PEC employees give back

Stories of help and community support through COVID-19

Communities play an important role in crises. When faced with adversity, we often see resilience through stories of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things — and PEC employees are no different. Learn more about what our employees are doing to help the communities they love.

Creating ear savers for health care workers

PEC Senior Quality Analyst Karl Tinsley was scrolling through Reddit when he learned many health care workers are suffering from sore and sometimes bloody ears caused by the elastic bands on their face masks. He also discovered a community of people online who were making tools called ear savers; essentially a piece of plastic to help pull the mask elastic away from ears and provide protection. Karl was determined to help our heroes on the frontlines, and began making the ear savers with his 3D printer and a pattern he found online.

“My friend’s wife is an ICU nurse in one of the hotspots, Albany, Georgia,” he said. “It turned out she had never heard of them before and asked if I could make her 10 — I ended up sending 20.”

When a member of his PEC Team told him their family member who worked in a Texas ER unit could also use the ear savers, Karl printed and shipped off another 50. Finally, he dropped off a box at the Austin Police Department for their officers who must also wear masks.

“It’s pretty neat to be able to help,” Karl said. “I mean it’s small, but very few of us can do much of anything but hunker down, so it’s nice to do one little thing.”

Caring for the hungry

For more than 20 years, employees from PEC’s Information Technology (IT) Team have delivered Meals on Wheels to their neighbors in need in Johnson City. During normal times the group delivers three times a week. With many of the regular volunteers under shelter-in-place orders, PEC employees who live locally in Johnson City — including Database Administrator Randy Stehling, Director of IT Philip Hons, and Service Desk Manager Shelly Flowers — are working to make sure no recipient goes hungry. Since Meals on Wheels protocols for COVID-19 limit deliveries to one time a week, they deliver one hot meal and enough frozen meals for recipients to get through the rest of the week.

Flowers and her team say they feel honored to deliver meals in the community. “The recipients are super appreciative and occasionally have a story to share with us,” she said. “It’s a small but rewarding part of our day — a little human contact and a smile for folks that don’t get out a lot or, in some cases, at all.”

Last fall when Meals on Wheels needed more help, PEC Member Relations Support Services Director DeLisa Evers stepped up, creating a weekly rotation of volunteers from her department. They, too, are delivering amid the pandemic.

“Recently, we delivered food to a senior who loved eating in the dining room with the other ladies,” PEC Member Relations Billing Coordinator Anais Castillo said. “Due to COVID-19, the woman can no longer do that. It makes me happy knowing I delivered her meal but also shared a few words with her because, who knows, I could be the only person she talked to all day.”

Even through challenging times, our employees remain a constant for those in need. And as they go about this selfless work, they bring to life our cooperative promise, standing by our communities — especially when needed most.

As PEC Member Relations Billing Coordinator Charlie Moore said, “Not only are we keeping them safe and fed, but they are feeding our hearts as well.”

Have you seen a PEC employee helping their community during COVID-19? Share it with us by emailing [email protected].