For Amy Strecker, the horribleness of Hurricane Florence clarified two very beautiful things: The importance of community and the value of a team coming together to complete a tough job
Strecker, who serves as stakeholder philanthropy manager at Duke Energy Foundation, sits on the Institute for Emerging Issues’ Forum Advisory Board for the ReCONNECT to Community forum, taking place in Asheville Nov. 27. (The forum was rescheduled from its original date of Sept. 17 due to Hurricane Florence.)
The forum, which kicks off IEI’s broader ReCONNECT NC initiative, will examine civic engagement and community connection from a number of different angles. IEI thought Strecker, and her take on Hurricane Florence’s toll on North Carolina communities, would be the ideal way kick off our series of “Partner Spotlight” profiles, which will showcase IEI partners around the state.
According to Strecker, everyone at Duke Energy has a day job and a storm job, so that during events like Florence accountants might become call center phone managers and office workers become travel agents, wrangling hotel rooms for hard-working line workers across the state.
Those line workers were among 20,000 Duke Energy field personnel deployed across the state during the storm, restoring the power of 1.8 million customers.
“We saw an outpouring of support for our line workers during the storm,” said Strecker, who told the story of a Wilmington business owner who opened up their shop for workers to do their laundry during the storm, noting there were many other similar stories. “One of the lessons from Hurricane Florence is that community is a long-term commitment.”
For Strecker, the understanding of community’s importance started in her small south-central Texas hometown, and carried over into her work with Teach for America as a young adult. Out of college, Strecker taught in eastern North Carolina’s Warren County Public Schools. for two years, and then spent another two years teaching character education programs.
“I know how important public education is to our country as a whole,” Strecker said. “But what I really learned in Warren County was the value of community.”
The sparsely populated county meant that citizens had to socialize across socio-economic lines if they wanted to socialize at all, creating a close, tight-knit community. Strecker carried that sense of community with her to the Triangle, where she began work with Duke Energy in 2010. She also carried another important item from Warren County: Her wife, a former principal at a Warren County school!
Strecker is excited to take part in IEI’s ReCONNECT to Community forum, noting that Duke Energy has had a long history of supporting IEI.
“This idea to ReCONNECT to each other is really important to us,” Strecker said. “When our communities do well, Duke Energy does well.”
To learn more about IEI’s ReCONNECT to Community, and to register (Registration ends Nov. 2!), visit emergingissues.org.