Thursday, Nov. 21, was Read-to-Me Day for Appalachian Power and more than 300 of its employees. That small army fanned out across West Virginia, Tennessee and Virginia to read to more than 20,000 elementary students in some 420 schools.
Among the volunteer readers was Appalachian Power electrical engineer Jordan Tincher. He joined his fellow volunteers in reading The Boy Who Touched the Stars to the combined third-grass classes of Heather Wade and Julie Stanley at Christiansburg Elementary School. He then moved over to Christiansburg Primary School and read the book to a class there. Tincher then left the book as a donation to the school library.
The Boy Who Touched the Stars was chosen in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It is the autobiographical story of Jose Hernandez. The book describes his journey from being the son of migrant workers in Mexico to becoming an astronaut on the Space Shuttle Discovery.
“We support education in many ways and at all levels, from pre-K to higher education,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power’s president and a volunteer reader himself. “But Read-to-Me Day is special. It’s a boots-on-the-ground way we can show every school we serve that we value education and we support what they do. More importantly,” Beam said, “it’s a way to show children that reading is important.”
Appalachian Power began its participation in Read-to-Me Day in 2001. The company estimates that its employees have read to more than 275,000 students and donated about 6,500 books over the years.