‘Christmas Cranes’ at Basin Electric, Mandan Athletic Complex to raise money for local charities


From now until Christmas, this 12-foot-tall Christmas tree will hang from a crane 238 feet in the air at Basin Electric’s Headquarters building in Bismarck.

The 238-foot crane has been a fixture at Basin Electric since September, but passersby may have noticed something a little different about it over the past couple weeks.

A 12-foot-tall Christmas tree, decorated in lights of “Basin blue,” can be seen hanging from the boom of the crane each evening when the sun sets on another work day – except when strong North Dakota winds make it impossible, like tonight.

The “Christmas Crane” is a holiday fundraising effort by Northwest Contracting, the company hired to construct Basin Electric’s Headquarters expansion project. Jerry Splonskowski, one of the company’s owners, says the Basin Electric project and the construction of the Mandan Athletic Complex are two very high-profile and unique projects the company is working on, and each of them is highly visible and can been seen from the interstate. “For the past 20 years, Northwest Contracting has done something charitable for Christmas, but this year we wanted to engage the community and give people a chance to be involved,” Splonskowski says. “This idea came to us in about three minutes, and we are having a lot of fun with it.”

As part of the fundraising effort, representatives from Basin Electric and the Mandan Athletic Complex were asked to designate a charity to be the recipient of the campaign’s donations. Basin Electric selected Gateway to Science and the Mandan Athletic Complex chose a fund to support Elianna Vasquez, the Mandan high school student who was recently injured in a home explosion that took the lives of her mother and stepfather and destroyed her home.

The campaign is easy and fun. Simply visit www.northwestcontracting.com and click on “vote now” under the Christmas Charity Challenge. Each person gets five votes per day, and votes can be cast for one charity or split up between both of them. The charities earn $1 per vote, and you can even earn extra votes by answering fun trivia questions. Donations will be capped at $25,000 per charity, and voting is open now through Christmas Day.

“This is a great way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas and raise money for two very deserving causes in the Bismarck-Mandan area,” Splonskowski says. “We want to get the word out to everyone, so share it and pass it on!”

The challenge will also be featured on Northwest Contracting’s Facebook page, where people can share the word of this wonderful promotion, and vote for Basin Electric!

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