A broken pole has little value in the utility world. In another setting, that very same pole can mean the world.

The Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities (ACBDD), located in Lima, was the recipient of three of these soon-to-be-trashed treasures. The ACBDD specializes in providing service to local children and adults with developmental disabilities. The “Butterfly Garden” is along a walking path that memorializes friends and loved ones who have passed away – mostly people who have either received services through the Board or worked there.

The memorial garden features poles with acrylic butterflies honoring these individuals. Last year the Board purchased its first three poles, which are now adorned with 96 butterflies.

Built right alongside the Lima Rotary Riverwalk with a couple benches to sit and reflect, the garden has been enormously popular and butterfly requests have kept coming. Three more poles were needed to accommodate the increase but the cost was becoming prohibitive. That’s where AEP Ohio stepped in.

A team of customer service and operations employees collaborated to provide three nearly brand-new poles that were no longer usable. (They were broken in a vehicle accident and about to be scrapped.)

ACBDD officials visited the Lima Service Center to view and select the poles, which were later delivered to Apollo Career Center for sanding and staining. Once complete, lineworkers Jason Ramsdail, Shaun Moening and Aaron Quentin needed only a couple hours to haul a backyard machine to the garden and set the poles.

“We do what we can to help out in the community. The guys were more than happy to do it,” said their supervisor, Steve Lamont.

All told, AEP Ohio’s support saved the Board approximately $5,000 on the project.

“It’s been a huge benefit for us to partner with AEP Ohio,” said Curtis Shepherd, director of operations at ACBDD. “Not only to receive the poles but their expertise on installing them was unbelievably helpful as well.”

According to Shepherd, with the extra available pole space, 25 to 30 more butterflies will be added this year. An annual dedication ceremony is planned for May.

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