Nathan Anderson wanted to be able to pay honor to the United States and Arizona flags while working 12-hour shifts in our Control Center monitoring the grid.
His colleague, Ric Merlino, had an idea to make that happen – ask Flags for the Flagless.
TEP has a longtime partnership with Flags for the Flagless, a non-profit organization that donates American flags to classrooms and organizations and provides education about flags. As an in-kind donation, TEP has lent the use of its bucket trucks to raise flags, helping about 20 times annually.
Building on their prior relationship with this volunteer work, Merlino approached founder Charles Foley with the request. Flags for the Flagless responded with some particularly special flags.
Merlino, System Supervisor of Generation System Control and a U.S. Army veteran, was humbled by the generosity. The organization donated flags from Gold Star families who have lost an immediate family member in the line of duty of military service. “These flags mean a little bit more to me, since these were donated by Gold Star families.”
Now, both U.S. and Arizona flags hang on the eastern wall of the TEP Control Center. The flags were put up in February in a room otherwise filled with large screens and computers that monitor our local and regional energy grids.
Anderson, a System Supervisor of Transmission System Control who has also worked in the fire service, said there were flags inside a control center when he worked at another utility in Washington state.
“There’s always space to be able to show some state and country pride, as well as the pride that we have in our work,” Anderson said. “I have immense pride where it is in our center.”