As I prepare this column, a tumultuous year is coming to a close, and I’m looking forward to the promise and opportunity that 2021 holds. The beginning of a new year is a time I pause before a blank slate, review the accomplishments and trials of the previous 12 months and look ahead to my next goals.
Last year certainly presented challenges unlike any we’ve ever seen. A global pandemic led to economic hardship and combined with a divisive political climate. It’s easy to let those struggles drag us down and dim our outlook on the days to come, but in reassessing how we’ve met these challenges, I’m certain that brighter days are ahead.
Our dedicated electric co-op employees have risen to the occasion. We adjusted our hours and policies to keep everyone safe. We continued our outreach to our communities — our hometowns — helping struggling neighbors in these uncertain times. Folks at the co-ops buckled down in adopting new safety practices while continuing to provide the high-quality service our consumer-members expect and deserve.
It hasn’t always been easy, but our goal continues to be to go above and beyond in service to our communities. It’s not enough to simply supply electricity. At your local electric cooperative, we think of ourselves as craftsmen. That means we’re not simply building something; we’re building it well — with pride and purpose.
It’s not enough for us to pick up the phone when you call with questions. We give you options for engaging with your electric cooperative so you can use the method that’s most convenient for you. We ensure your safety in our lobbies and in the community where our employees work outside the office. We provide opportunity for our future members, encouraging the area’s youth to dream big and helping them develop the skills they need to join tomorrow’s workforce. We provide energy-saving information so you can get the most out of your energy dollars.
I can’t express how proud I am of our employees for showing such resilience. Like linemen who brave the fiercest weather or overcome long odds to string lines to the most remote reaches of our service area, all our employees are craftsmen with keen eyes and uncommon skill earned through busted knuckles and sleepless nights. Through service and sacrifice, we’re the people who build stuff — artisans who work in wood, wire and steel to light the countryside and energize our communities.
Tennessee’s electric cooperatives take great pride in the work we do, the infrastructure we build and the communities we serve. We are crafting the future of our rural and suburban areas — investing in comfort and connection, in energy and opportunity, in people and places.
We’re building a brighter Tennessee.