Clay County Electric Cooperative holds its annual meeting

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Clay County Electric Cooperative conducted its 65th annual meeting in Wynn Park last Friday with an outstanding turnout for the pre-Independence Day session.

Louis Ahrent, John Dalton and Reuben Seay were re-elected to three-year terms to the board of directors of Clay County Electric during a short business meeting preceding the give-away at 1:30 p.m.

President Leo Odom officially began the annual meeting, noting that there were an estimated 1,500 people in attendance, 689 of whom registered.

Entertainment this year was again provided by the Rhodes Show, which has been a part of the annual meeting for the past half-century. Concession stands were operated by local civic groups and churches. An added attraction was a booth manned by Piggott Hospital employees and a visit by the AirEvac helicopter service.

Derwood Brett, general manger of the locally-owned electric cooperative addressed the crowd by stating what a tremendous year it has been. He noted that the cooperative has enjoyed slow but steady growth since it was founded in 1938. Today, there are more than 12,500 meters strung along nearly 2,650 miles of line.

Brett stressed that the cooperative's primary goal is to provide safe and dependable electric service to the membership. "But," he added, "We encourage our employees to put some seed back into the community by being involved in the community and church projects." Brett said, "We ask them to be involved in the day-to-day activities of their schools, churches, civic clubs, little league programs and vocational programs such as 4-H, FFA and FCCLA."

He added that in 2003, cooperative employees donated more than 8,000 hours of volunteer service to the communities in which those employees live.

Statistically, that is over a quarter-million dollars of in-kind service our employees put back into the community.

He then informed members about the Capital Credit refunds of $423,568.99 that were sent to members in the years of 1983-85. This brings the total refunded to local members to nearly $2.5 million dollars in the last few years. "Capital Refunds are possible because of sound financial practices," Brett said.

According to the manager, the cooperative is involved in a number of projects to help make lives easier for the membership. He reminded members about the co-ops long-distance telephone service, the expanded lease program for Marathon Water Heathers, whole-house surge protection equipment and Wild Blue Satellite Internet Service that is scheduled to be available late in 2004 or early 2005. Wild Blue is a program through the National Rural Telephone Cooperative (NRTC) through which rural residents will be able to have high -speed internet service available no matter how far they are form town. The service will be partnered with DirectTV so subscribers will have the convenience of high-speed internet service and satellite TV with the convenience of one monthly bill.

Gary Garland, attorney for the cooperative, conducted the business session and the election of directors to serve the membership for the next three years.

The re-elected directors will continue a long tradition of service to the cooperative. Ahrent, who currently serves as vice-chairman of the board, was first elected to the co-op in 1980 and is approaching a quarter-century of service. Seay has served the co-op for more than three decades having been elected in 1971. Dalton was first elected to the board in 1979 and serves as secretary-treasurer.

The big winners of the drawing were Mike Ballard, who was presented with a $300.00 rebate certificate; Don Hubbard, a $200.00 rebate winner; and Gary Cummings, a $100.00 meeting.

Following is a list of winners who brought home energy certificates worth $50.00 each:

Herbert or Shirley Hill, Vicky Arnold, Maglean Wheetley, Bo or Mary Boswell, Edward or Peggy Hancock, Vernon Noles, Williams or Melissa Naney, Rock Spring Methodist Church; Jackie Roark, Jerry R. Causey, Jerry E. Price, Ollie Rosson, Coy Mauldin, Lawrence L. or Margie Martin, Ramey Shipman, Jimmy Prince, David or Mona McKnight, Louis Williams, Allen Russell.

Current Gaines Baptist Association, Jim or Peggy Palmer, Maurice Robinson, Calvin Spray, Michael Counts, Harold Riggan Jr.

Water Valley Volunteer Fire Department, James R. Kincade, Eddie Carmickle, Chris Schmidt, Apostolic Fellowship Church, Bill or Dorthy Shephard,Williams or Lois Farrar, Doyle Causey, Jessie Chavez, James Lowe, Curtis Barker, Roxanna Gentry, Don Caldwell, Dorothy S. Jones, Margaret Soles, Bob Reed, Lloyd Grasser, Thomas Melton.

J.W. Sullinger, Ruel or Mildred Jones, Mark W. Ahrent, Carl Irvin, Wynona Carroll, MTM Aircraft, Incorporated, James Prince, Jason A. Young, Justin or Janna Pyle, Billy W. or Debra S. Gilbee, Linda Riddle, Dennis Parrish, Bruce or Brenda McGrew, Linda Elkins, William E. Foster, Myrl or Helen Kellett, Gene Hewett, Gene Barber, Morris Chapel Church.

Edwin W. Dunigan, Lewis Bland, Larry or Jamie Engel, Randy Niedermeier, Casey or Jamie Tharp, Marie Rose.

Winners of the AECC/AECI Gift Certificates were Terry or Audrey Collins and Darren or Judy Miller.

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