Past President John Cheney spoke about his experiences with linemen from the time he first came to work at the co-op in 1954. Cheney retired in 1995, after serving in various roles including as president from 1981-1995. Board of Trustee members, Tom Dierksheide, John Edie, Knut Lahrs, Marlene Barker and William Kale each thanked the line workers. Former long-time line workers each stood and listed their years at the co-op – Tommie Wickard, 43; Stanley “Skip” Baltz, 37; Robert Hamlin, 34; Ralph Barnhisel, Ray Jameson and Jerry Montague, each 30, and Kole Sterling, 25. Each received a commendation certificate for their dedicated service.
Walton also presented certificates of appreciation to the co-op’s current linemen and mentioned each individual’s years of employment: James Casey, 29; Thomas Paul, 28; Scott Shaull, 17; John Coe, 17; Rodney Barnhisel, 15; Randy Kohl, 12; Jeffrey Price, 12; Lee Brodman, 10; Robert Schwartz, 10; Mark Mareches, nine; Clinton Patterson and Ryan Stearns, seven each; Jamie Cole and Clayton Hoepf and Joshua Kitzler, three each, and Ryan Stallings, who is completing his first year, and part-time lineman David Carman.
Bill Barnhart, vice president of engineering and operations, said, “I am reminded of a passage – Mark 10:45, which reads, and I am paraphrasing, but it is, ‘we did not come to be served but to serve.’ I think that sums it up.”
On Mar 10, Hancock-Wood member Janice Noel of Arcadia wrote a tribute to the linemen that reads, in part: “Dear brave men and women, life would be very difficult and uncomfortable without electricity…We don’t know you personally but are so very grateful for your dedication…Even when the weather is at its very worst or during holidays or weekends, you are there, working long, exhausting hours sacrificing your sleep, personal time and, above all, your safety… God bless you for being such a blessing to the community and to us.”
Last February, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association proclaimed April 13, 2015, as Lineman Appreciation Day. That resolution states, in part: “linemen…put their lives on the line every day and…are the first responders of the electric cooperative family. There would be no electric cooperatives without these brave men and women…”
Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, established April 20, 1938, serves portions of Hancock, Wood, Allen, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties. For more information about Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, visit www.hwe.coop or call 800-445-4840.