Giving Back

Larry Wilkin: Animal lover, Damage Prevention Specialist and Volunteer of the Year

PROTECTING COMMUNITIES by promoting safe digging is not enough for Larry Wilkin of Columbia Gas of Ohio. He is also a dedicated community volunteer in his spare time. That is why the company named him its “Volunteer of the Year.”

A Damage Prevention Specialist, Larry is based in and around the Zanesville, Ohio area. His love and compassion for animals and dedication to his community made him an easy choice for the award.

Larry and his wife, Barb, volunteer every Sunday at the Coshocton County Humane Society in Coshocton, Ohio, where they help care for cats and dogs waiting to be adopted into their forever homes. Larry helps feed the animals, gives them their medications, cleans out their cages and provides some much-needed love and affection. Larry and Barb also support the Humane Society’s fundraisers and special events which help raise money for the supplies needed to care for the animals.

“Larry has saved me multiple times with fundraising efforts,” said Rachael Selders, Coshocton County Humane Society Chair. “He has a natural gift to connect with people and is outspoken, which helps get the word out. Larry is a true blessing in so many ways. Last year he put in many more hours than documented and we are so thankful for this. I know I can always count on Larry. He is a true friend.”

In addition to volunteering at the Humane Society, Larry loves to volunteer at community events that Columbia Gas of Ohio sponsors. Each year, he looks forward to seeing the smiling faces of dozens of kids that attend the Fire Safety Days in Newark and Zanesville, Ohio. And, Larry is also the former chief of a volunteer fire department.

(L-R) Dan Creekmur, Rachael Selders, Barb Wilkin, Larry Wilkin. Photo credit: Chris Cook, Zanesville Times Recorder. Photos taken in February, prior to COVID-19 mask regulations

“I think it’s great because I’m working in the Muskingum Valley area and my hometown of Coshocton,” Larry said. “I really love the area and it lets people know that Columbia Gas gives back to the community.”

Larry builds relationships with contractors and municipalities on the job to promote safe digging. If there is a problem or question about locating gas lines, they know Larry will get things taken care of.

“Larry is a good guy,” said Dan Creekmur, former President and Chief Operating Officer of Columbia Gas of Ohio. “Simply put, he’s one of the first volunteers. He genuinely cares about our company. You can see it in his work. His role is to make sure we keep it as safe as possible.”

Because of Larry’s Volunteer of the Year award, the Coshocton County Humane Society received a $5,000 donation from Columbia Gas.

The Volunteer of the Year award is part of Columbia Gas of Ohio’s Columbia Cares program, which encourages employees to volunteer in their community to help make a difference and improve the quality of life for families, friends and neighbors. Each year, Columbia Gas of Ohio donates $1.25 million to non-profits and other organizations. More information about Columbia Cares can be found at columbiagasohio.com/ columbia-cares.

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