FirstEnergy's Louie the Lightning Bug brings positive energy to the Blue Line, promoting healthy habits and happiness … – FirstEnergy Corp.

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With fall officially settling into northeast Ohio, families are trading fields of fireflies for the thrill of Friday Night Lights. Thankfully, FirstEnergy’s Louie the Lightning Bug is ready to keep the summer magic alive, bringing his positive energy and electric dance moves to downtown Akron to support the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay race weekend.
Louie will help kick off race festivities, making his first appearance on Friday, September 29, at the free 1-Mile Kids Fun Run, sponsored by Akron Children’s Hospital. Cheering young runners from start to finish, Louie will help highlight the importance of health and safety for more than 1,000 kids and their families.
Then, after a quick overnight recharge, Louie will be up bright and early on Saturday, September 30, to join more than 10,000 people on the Blue Line. He’ll welcome runners, volunteers and spectators of all ages to the 21st running of the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay – the city’s largest single-day sporting event of the year.
A major sponsor of the marathon since the first race in 2003, FirstEnergy is also a long-time supporter of Akron Children’s Hospital. In the last 10 years alone, corporate and FirstEnergy Foundation giving initiatives have provided over $600,000 to help Akron Children’s Hospital improve the quality of life for children and families in northeast Ohio. FirstEnergy employees are also eager to donate their time at events like the annual radiothon, encouraging callers to light up the phone bank with love and contributions.
When it comes to lighting up smiles, though, Louie the Lightning Bug has it down to a science – which makes sense because the person donning the suit is often Bryan Jankura, an engineer from FirstEnergy’s Transmission Operations team.
Bryan takes his role seriously, observing other mascots and studying online resources to help him bring Louie to life. “It starts with the stride. You pick your feet up and keep your head held high,” says Bryan. “The arms are really expressive. I can’t pick up an egg – but I can do the Macarena!”
Most importantly, Bryan has to remember the golden rule for mascots: Don’t talk. Thankfully, Bryan’s wife and daughters have joined Louie’s entourage, volunteering as his handlers for the last two years. His wife, Karen, will be there throughout race weekend to help Louie navigate crowded streets and interact with community members safely.
More than just a whimsical character with catchy dance moves, Louie helps promote FirstEnergy’s mission and core values. For decades, the beloved lighting bug has been the face of educational campaigns, teaching kids how to use electricity safely and responsibly.
With mascots like Louie beside them on Friday, young runners will see that forming healthy habits can be fun – especially when we’re active together. And, for Bryan, that’s what life is all about.
“FirstEnergy isn’t just a business – it’s people. We come out to support events that are important to the community because they’re also important to us,” says Bryan. “We’re not just here to deliver power and be done for the day. We realize there’s a bigger goal in life – to be safe, to be happy – and to help others be happy too.”
Learn more about electrical safety through the free educational resources available online in Louie’s Electric Safety Universe.
 
Electric Universe Website
Kidshealth: Kids and Exercise | Akron Children’s Hospital (akronchildrens.org)
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