New beginnings

By David Bailey, General Manager

Spring is upon us, and that means different things to different people. Deer hunters are in mourning as their season comes to an end. Turkey hunters are in a celebratory mood for the opening of their season. Those of you with green thumbs have probably already gotten out in the garden to prepare for warmer weather.

As spring begins, we wanted to remember Mr. Ben Norman, a longstanding member of South Alabama Electric Cooperative’s board of trustees representing the people of District 4. When Mr. Norman lost his battle with cancer last November, it was a loss not only to his family and this cooperative but the community as a whole, which he served to the very end.

A trustee serves an extremely important role within a cooperative. One of our core principles is democratic member control, which would not be possible without our board of trustees. They are elected by you, our members, to be your representatives in all cooperative matters.

Our trustees take that responsibility seriously, and none more so than Mr. Norman. This month’s feature story shows his dedication to serving his neighbors and his community in any way he could. His position on the board was certainly part of that. Mr. Norman represented the members of this cooperative to his fullest, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read about his tremendous contributions.

Traditionally, spring is also a time for cleaning up, but at my house this year we’ve been busy tidying up all winter. That’s because our youngest daughter is getting married and has decided to hold the reception at our home this month. It’s a happy time, but you could also say we’ve been doing our spring cleaning over the entire winter.

The truth is we should all stay vigilant about cleaning throughout the year, especially when it comes to equipment like AC units and water heaters. Keeping your AC unit clean ensures it can run efficiently, so you get the same level of comfort at less cost. We can all learn and do more to make our homes more efficient. Until recently, I didn’t know that it is important to flush your water heater once per year. In our area the water contains a lot of lime, which can build up in the water heater and cause it to operate inefficiently.

Flushing it can prevent buildup and help the water heater run better throughout the year. It goes to show that we can always learn new things.

This month, a group of our local students is also traveling to Montgomery for the 2019 Youth Tour.  While there, they will represent SAEC and learn about the role cooperatives play in rural areas across the state. Afterward, SAEC will select two students from that group to represent your cooperative at the Washington Youth Tour this summer. I hope D.C. is open at that time!

I think all too often when it comes to our young people, we have a tendency to focus on the things they do wrong or the ways they aren’t like us. But it never ceases to amaze me how the youth in our area step up to be leaders in their community.

Our challenge as a cooperative is to make sure we are giving them the support they need and creating jobs that will keep them in south Alabama. That’s why SAEC is aggressive in supporting programs like the Youth Tour and local STEM camps, as well as facilitating broadband service and economic development in our area.

You can read more about how one of our newly elected representatives in the state legislature, Wes Allen, supports those efforts in this magazine. I truly believe that will be what saves communities like ours, and SAEC is proud to play our part.

Finally, I’d like to wish all of our members good luck on whatever spring projects you may be starting this season. If I survive my daughter’s wedding, I’ll see you next month.

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