Mother Nature tried to foil Team Midwest with threats of storms, but in the end Team Midwest took Cassopolis by storm in this week’s Changing the Landscape Day of Service.

On Wednesday, the entire southwest Michigan family of Midwest Energy Cooperative, Midwest Propane and Midwest Connections employees came together in an unprecedented day of community service across Cassopolis and surrounding communities. Nearly 90 employees in eight teams were deployed to 10 project sites, giving close to 600 “man hours” to strengthen and support the community.

“We recently broke ground on a new headquarters facility just east of Cassopolis, and wanted to acknowledge this huge step that we are taking on behalf of our members, communities and employees,” said Bob Hance, president/CEO. “Instead of a gold-shovel groundbreaking event, we set out to do something meaningful and important for this community that we’ve called home for nearly 80 years, and intend to call home for many years to come.”

In hot and humid conditions, employee teams spread out across the greater community, improving facilities, landscaping, clearing trails, constructing fences and ramps, and completing a myriad of other tasks. Project sites included Bair Lake Bible Camp in Jones; Five Star Summit in Union; Russ Forest in Decatur; Dr. T.K. Lawless Park in Vandalia; and Cass County Fairgrounds, Cass County Council on Aging, Cassopolis Public Schools, and Clisbee, Don Horne and Log Cabin Parks, all in Cassopolis.

As the co-op gave back, several other local businesses stepped up to support their efforts through the donation of materials and labor. Supporting partners included Ivens Construction, Dussel’s Farm Market, Mint City Tree Service, Grimes Tree Service, and C & E Excavating.

“Changing the landscape is our mantra these days,” Hance added. “We’re literally changing the landscape at the intersection of M-60 and Decatur Road as we begin building our ‘Utility of the Future’ headquarters. In a more figurative way, much like the electrification of rural America in the 1930s, we’re changing the landscape on our members’ experiences through upgrades to our electric distribution system and deployment of fiber communications solutions. This day was an amazing and appropriate way to take this step into the future.”

More photos: 2016 Changing the Landscape Photo Album.