SMECO donates more than $50K for Melwood’s Operation: Tohidu retreat
Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) employees held two fund raising events and recently donated $53,476 to Melwood’s Operation: Tohidu. SMECO employees raised the money through the SMECO 75 Bike Ride held in June and the SMECO Annual Charity Golf Outing in October. The events are supported by a group of volunteers, vendors, and the SMECO executive team. The Co-op selects a different organization each year to benefit from the fundraising events.
“Many hands make light work, and hosting a fund raising event is no exception,” said Richard Jarboe, SMECO supply chain director, in a release. “Our employees go the extra mile to support local organizations, and we’re proud to be able to make such a significant contribution to Operation: Tohidu. With the assistance of our supply chain partners who share in the success of the golf outing, we are able to make a difference in people’s lives.”
SMECO has hosted the charity golf event for 13 years and has given more than $145,000 to local groups.
Melwood’s Operation: Tohidu is a 7-day retreat designed with the goal of enabling participants to heal from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mid to moderate traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and other deployment related traumas through experiential learning and alternative therapies and interventions. The program focuses on confidence-building, outdoor activities, and group discussion in a relaxed, positive environment using proven techniques for the self-management of symptoms, stressors, and responses.
Operation: Tohidu is designed to help active and veteran service members overcome obstacles to their recovery and become subject matter experts.
“We are confident that this program will continue to help a growing population of wounded warriors recover and improve their ability to successfully reintegrate into their families and communities,” Melwood’s President and CEO Cari DeSantis said in the release.
Operation: Tohidu sessions are scheduled throughout the year at Melwood’s Retreat and Recreation Center in Nanjemoy, Mar yland.
SMECO hosted its fifth annual bike ride on June 4. This year, representatives from Melwood attended the event and helped to raise awareness for their program.
The SMECO 75 Bike Ride is open to the public. Participants can choose among three routes of 29, 47, and 75 miles that start at the co-op’s headquarters in Hughesville and go as far as Colton’s Point in St. Mary’s County.
SMECO is currently planning its sixth annual bike ride for June 3. Four different environmental organizations are slated to benefit: the American Chestnut Land Trust in Calvert County, the Port Tobacco River Conservancy in Charles County, the Alice Ferguson Foundation in Prince George’s County, and the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association in St. Mary’s County.
Cyclists who want to participate in the SMECO 75 Bike Ride can register online at Active.com beginning Jan. 1.
SMECO employees raised $53,475.95 at events hosted by the cooperative, and the funds were donated to Melwood’s Operation: Tohidu, a rehabilitation program for veterans. Pictured from left are SMECO representatives Denise Chalmers, senior buyer, Natalie Cotton, community and public affairs director, and Austin J. Slater, Jr., President and CEO. Melwood representatives Cari DeSantis, president and CEO, Melwood Horticultural Training Center, and Walt Gillette, director of development, Melwood Veterans Services, accepted the contribution.