This post was written by Karen Moore, CEO of Baldwin EMC.
One of the most important values in the electric industry is safety. At Baldwin EMC, we know that building a strong safety culture involves engagement and empowerment. We constantly look for unique ways to educate and challenge our employees. That’s why when Jody Taylor, Vice President of Operations, suggested Mike Lutzenkirchen’s message, I knew it would be relevant at our 2016 year-end Safety Meeting.
As our guest speaker, Mike did a fantastic job challenging our employees to look out for one another and to be disciplined in their decision-making. We even experienced one of our own employees choosing to be a great friend rather than just a good one. When Mike mentioned the Lutzie 43 curriculum and what he called “school-based character education,” it grabbed my attention. As a cooperative, we are always looking for opportunities to impact our future leaders. I briefly spoke with Mike after the meeting and told him that I would love to help get the curriculum into our schools.
In early 2017, we invited a representative from our school system to a meeting with Mike, myself and a Baldwin EMC staff member representing our charitable foundation. We discussed the Lutzie 43 Foundation and realized that it would not be a seamless entry into our public schools due to the faith-based element in the curriculum. We did not want to give up without trying though. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right?
Here is what we learned through the process: faith-based events and curriculum are not “banned” from public schools; however, they cannot be mandatory nor can they be conducted by a paid school employee. Mike began brainstorming ways to ensure interested athletes could participate while also protecting everyone’s rights. His idea to recruit the area Fellowship of Christian Athletes Director, Dennis Hayford, was pivotal for moving forward. Dennis worked diligently with Mike to develop an implementation plan and write a grant for funding through Baldwin EMC’s Charitable Foundation. Thankfully, our Charitable Foundation Board has six established categories for grant distribution and education is one of them.
Throughout the entire process, I found myself admiring Mike and Dennis’ teamwork. They met with each school’s athletic director and outlined a plan in which the football team’s volunteer chaplains would lead the voluntary meetings either before or after practices. As a result, every public-school football team in Baldwin County received the Lessons to Legacy books and have started the curriculum.
The Lutzie 43 Lessons to Legacy curriculum emphasizes traits such as patience, discipline, communication, willingness, courage, respect, commitment and purpose. How pertinent these were for us during this journey! It’s proof that the Lessons to Legacy are applicable to anyone at any age. We support Mike’s passion for character development and are thankful we can honor his son Philip’s legacy through this partnership.
Karen Moore, CEO Baldwin EMC