Updated: Thursday, 24 Dec 2009, 9:58 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 24 Dec 2009, 9:58 PM EST
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Employees at Votaw Electric got a surprise Monday night. Each person got an envelope with $120 inside in the form of 60 $2 bills.
"I thought it was awesome," Rich Jennings said. "That's what this company is all about, community."
Jennings is an estimator for Votaw. The money came with instructions saying 20 percent should be given to a charity. The rest could be spent whoever the employee wanted.
"I had my son put it in the Salvation Army kettle," Jennings said. "My two boys and wife will go to the movies next week while they are out of school and spend money at the concessions."
Jennings isn't sure how he'll spend the rest of the money, but he knows it will be in local businesses.
"It makes me feel great," Jennings said. I'm a firm believer that the only way the economy will get back on track is people spending money."
Dan Votaw is president of the company. He got the idea for what's becoming known as the People's Stimulus plan from a drug store in Alabama.
"It sends a different signal. One of hope rather than of pessimism," Votaw said.
Votaw said his company wasn't immune to the tough economy. After a year of ups and downs, Votaw is optimistic about 2010.
"Our hope is this can be the first of several installments throughout the year. It's cash in small denominations so it's easy to spread around," Votaw said.
Votaw said it's a coincidence that the first stimulus package at Votaw landed around Christmas.
"We knew it was going to be around the end of the year, and because it's the Christmas season, there is extra sensitivity to the plight of others," he said.
Greg Gemperline, a project coordinator for Votaw, donated his 20 percent to St. Mary's soup kitchen. He said he's also seen the money inspire a generous spirit.
"Some [employees] gave money to their children and they, in
turn, gave to other children and said, 'Merry Christmas,'"
Gemperline said. "This is where we live, work and where our home is
and we want to contribute to the community. That's the most
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