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Gov. Kasich and Sen. Gardner recognize Hancock-Wood Electric Co-op linemen

NORTH BALTIMORE, OHIO – April 14, 2015 – State Senator Randy Gardner, Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative President and CEO George Walton and a host of area community leaders recognized the co-op’s line workers yesterday at a special Linemen Appreciation Day ceremony, held at the co-op. Governor John Kasich sent a resolution on Thursday supporting the designation of April 13, 2015, as National Linemen Appreciation Day.
At the ceremony, Sen. Gardner presented the linemen with a salute from the Ohio’s 131st General Assembly, which reads in part, “The profession of lineman, including linemen from the Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, is steeped in personal, family and professional tradition. These hardy individuals work with thousands of volts of electricity high atop power lines at all hours …to construct and maintain the energy infrastructure of the U.S., frequently operating under dangerous conditions and away from their families…linemen are often the first responders during storms and other catastrophic events, striving to make the scene safe for other public safety personnel. [They] put their lives at risk every day…”
After his speech, Sen. Gardner joked, “Do you think I could get a job here? I’m kidding, I couldn’t do what you guys do. Thank you, each of you, for keeping the power going.”

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.

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