Grad Party, Local Business ‘Powered by Ford’ During Power Outages

Jun 26, 2024

With sweltering heat and severe storms, this summer in Michigan has been fraught with unexpected power outages. For those customers with F-150s equipped with Pro Power Onboard, having a built-in generator on their trucks has been invaluable. Here are two customer stories.

Patty Racco began planning her daughter Cira’s high school graduation party in January. The event would be held at the family home in Beverly Hills, Michigan. Nearly 150 people were expected to attend, and everything was in place – from food and drinks to an outdoor tent and electronic basketball arcade game. 

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But all bets were off when a severe storm hit last Wednesday, just days before the party, tumbling trees and knocking out power to the area, leading to a state of emergency.

“We knew it was bad very quickly,” said Racco, an ergonomics technical specialist in Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering. “The yard was covered in large branches that had come down, and we had to clear a path in front of our house so that emergency vehicles could make their way through.” 

The next day, thankful that her family was safe, and their home was not damaged, Racco’s thoughts quickly turned to the graduation party. Could they still pull it off?

A large branch was hanging semi-detached from a tree in the backyard where the tent was supposed to be, so they would have to move the gathering to the front of the house. The more important concern was how they would keep food and drinks refrigerated in the 90-plus degree heat.

“We had just bought a new F-150 hybrid a few months ago, and we were working in the yard picking up debris when my husband said, ‘Doesn’t the F-150 have a generator?’” recalled Racco. “He tried plugging our daughter’s hair dryer into the back of the truck, and it worked!”

The couple connected the F-150 to two refrigerators in the house. They also used it to power the Pop-A-Shot basketball game they ordered for the party. 

“I’m so grateful for the F-150,” said Racco. “It took so much of the pressure off trying to figure out how we were going to make everything work so we could just focus on our daughter and celebrating her accomplishments.”

Racco said the power-up was quiet and didn’t interfere at all with the event.

“Because our F-150 is a hybrid, it wasn’t always running. There was no exhaust to worry about, and there was no loud, overbearing noise in the background during the party,” she said.  

The graduation party was a success, and Racco said the experience gives her peace of mind moving forward.

“Now that that we know what the F-150’s capability is and how flexible and easy it is to hook up, I’m not worried about losing power again,” she said. “These vehicle features come into people's lives when they need them. Sometimes, you don’t even know you need them until you do. And then when you have them, you’re so grateful.”

F-150 LARIAT Helps Power Local Business  

Typically, the dining area at GoodLyfe Smoothie in Ypsilanti, Michigan, is a bright and cordial space. It’s air-conditioned, so customers can beat the heat of the early summer sun. But on Thursday, May 30, the local smoothie shop didn’t have enough electricity to keep the business open. Earlier that morning a blown transformer knocked out the power to most of the small businesses in the strip mall where GoodLyfe operates.

When owner Naz Algehain got to work that morning and realized that some of his equipment wasn’t working, he thought about closing shop for the day, but he didn’t. He decided to pull his F-150 LARIAT to the back door of his shop instead and use the 12-volt outlets to power his kitchen’s hot water tank and panini press. 

“Without those two things I can’t run,” said Algehain. “I make all the food using the presses, and without hot water none of us can wash our hands. If we didn’t have that, we’d have to shut down.”

Algehain said if his F-150 hadn’t been able to help him power his shop, he would’ve lost between $3,000 and $4,000.

But thanks to his truck and tenacity, Algehain’s shop made it through the day, providing fresh and healthy food to the Ypsilanti community.

“These are strong trucks. This is my second one, and I love it,” said Algehain. “I love the cleaner look. They’re good on gas, and they ride so smoothly.”