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Alliant Energy VIP Dawn Dray shines a light on mental health

Editor’s note: This story includes discussion of mental illness and suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, the national suicide and crisis lifeline in the U.S. is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at

Dawn Dray is a customer service representative at Alliant Energy in Wisconsin, known for her compassion. She listens to customers who struggle and tries to understand what’s happening on their side of the phone. She often asks, “How can I make things easier for you?”

Her dedication to helping others extends far beyond her job. For 10 years, she has volunteered with the Beloit Junior Women’s Club, a social and community fundraising group, because she’s motivated by “women pulling together to help the community.”

In 2021, Dray's family experienced a profound loss. Her granddaughter, Gabi, a bright and beloved student, died by suicide.

“Mental illness is unseen,” Dray said. “Many people with mental illness don’t share what they are feeling. They could be having a huge crisis and you wouldn’t know it.”

Dray and her family pulled together to honor Gabi and help protect other families from the same heart break. In 2022, they established Gabi's Wings, a nonprofit focused on mental health awareness, suicide prevention and supporting aspiring mental health professionals.

The organization hosts the annual "Gabi's Wings Fundraiser & Ride," a community event to raise money for scholarships. These scholarships prioritize graduating seniors pursuing careers in mental health and actively engaged in volunteer work, mirroring Gabi's own path.

The event fosters a spirit of togetherness. Friends, families and local businesses come together and donate everything from space and food to crafts and prizes. It's a celebration of life and community in remembrance of Gabi.

Gabi's Wings also participates in the Walworth County Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Walk. This event connects people affected by suicide, offers support and resources, and spreads the message that help is available and no one is alone.

We acknowledge Dawn Dray's exceptional commitment with a Values in Practice (VIP) award. This program honors employees who actively contribute to the communities we serve. As a VIP, Dray receives a $500 grant to donate to the nonprofit of her choice. She’ll contribute her grant to the Gabriel "Gabi" Dray Memorial Scholarship fund.

We applaud Dray and all our VIPs for embodying our company's core values. They act for tomorrow, do the right thing, make things better and care for others.

Dawn Dray

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