Greenwood Energy Center employees save Great Horned Owl

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DTE Energy’s Greenwood Energy Center (GWEC), located in Avoca, Mich., is one of DTE’s smaller capacity power plants, but it has a huge presence in the community. For about the last five years, the Greenwood Athletic Association (GAA), made up of more than 50 active employees and numerous retirees, has been conducting fundraisers for local charities. Last year alone, they raised $12,000 to benefit Meals on Wheels, The Salvation Army, Julie’s Kids and the Yale Food Bank.

Recently, though, their charitable work took an unexpected turn.

On Sept. 22, as Gregg Childs and Frank Rotondi, two GWEC employees, were going to work when they noticed a Great Horned Owl with one of its wings stuck in a chain link fence. The two worked quickly to free the bird and realized it was wounded. After a quick online search for guidance on how to ensure the bird’s safety, they donned long-sleeved heavy coats, welding gloves and face shields, and placed the owl in a box with ventilation holes and towels for padding.

Several calls were placed to animal rescues until one was found that had the room and the expertise to rehabilitate the injured owl.

Janice Walters, of Jan and Matt’s Wildlife Rescue in Almont, Mich., took the owl to St. Francis Animal Hospital in Macomb, Mich., where the veterinarian treats wild aviation for free. The doctor determined nothing was broken, but the wound would require cleaning, antibiotics and cage rest for two weeks. Walters then took the bird back to care for it until it was ready to be released back into the wild.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, a “test flight” to release the bird back into its habitat was conducted, but unfortunately was unsuccessful. The bird will now be transferred to a federally licensed facility for further rehabilitation. It is unknown whether the bird will be brought back to Greenwood when it is finally released back into the wild.

Walters and her husband rescue wildlife because of their love of animals, not for the money, so their expenses come directly out of pocket. To help defray their costs, the GAA donated $500 to the Wildlife Rescue and another $100 to the Animal Hospital and raised an additional $500 from Greenwood employees and contractors.

“We truly do work at a beautiful location surrounded by nature and it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment and the many amazing animals on our site,” said Jeff Butler, Greenwood shift supervisor and president, GAA. “We are thankful to have members, retirees, and families that take this responsibility seriously and are generous when it comes to supporting those that are making a positive difference.”

If you would like to support Link’s rehabilitation, checks may be made payable to The G.A.A. and mailed to:

Gregg Childs
Greenwood Energy Center
7000 Kilgore
Avoca, MI 48006

Be sure to write “For Link” in the memo portion of the check.