The joy of the holidays

By David Bailey, General Manager


December has always been a time of great joy for my family and me. For one, the Alabama heat has usually broken by now, giving us a rest from summer. Winter days in the South can sometimes feel more like spring in other parts of the country. We only get so many opportunities to appreciate cooler temperatures around here, so we enjoy them while we can.

But our biggest source of joy this time of year is Christmas. Children around the world are writing their Christmas lists, and their parents, or grandparent in my case, look at them and pass out. And there’s the fact that my grandson has his birthday in December. When I asked him which of his lists was longer he firmly told me, “Duh, Christmas.” For those of us who are Christians, this is also the time when we celebrate the birth of hope and God’s grace in sending us His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

When it comes to the members of South Alabama Electric Cooperative, December is a time of more earthly joy when we send out capital credit checks for the year. There’s one member of my church who asks me every time I see him when he will get his check. Well, the time has finally come.

This year, your board of trustees approved the retirement of $1.6 million in capital credits. SAEC is blessed to be in strong-enough financial condition to be able to return that kind of money to our members, and we do not take the opportunity lightly. Refunding capital credits is just one of the benefits of being a cooperative member. I hope that all of you will be able to put your refund checks to good use. Maybe those funds can even soften the financial impact of the Christmas lists in your life.

Another one of the benefits of cooperative membership is knowing that we are as dedicated to this community as you are. As a result, we try to partner with local businesses that share those values. For over 50 years, Bullard’s Garage was one of those partners that understood the cooperative way. The garage closed earlier this year, but you can learn more about its legacy in this month’s magazine.

Glen and Harry Bullard aren’t employees of SAEC. They’re members just like you. But during any major crisis, whether it was a hurricane or a snowstorm, Bullard’s Garage was always right there with our linemen making sure their vehicles were ready for the job at hand. When the cooperative would provide regular, day-to-day service, Bullard’s was there to maintain our fleet and even pull the occasional truck out of the mud.

I know the Troy community will feel the absence of Bullard’s Garage now that it has closed its doors. Our fleet will certainly miss the expertise its workers provided, but I am thankful for their decades of dedicated service.
Fortunately, we are also blessed with employees who are always ready to step up to help get the job done. This month, I’d like to take a moment to highlight Billy Ray Lester, who took on the challenge of becoming a construction foreman two years ago. You can learn more in this magazine about the wonderful job he has done leading his crew. And if you know him or see him around town, please join me in congratulating him for two years of good work.

Of course, we continue to move forward with our new building project. If you drive by the construction site this month you should finally be able to see signs of progress, which is a great Christmas present in itself. I know that once it is finished, the new facility will be a valuable asset for our members.

As we approach the end of this year, I would like to encourage everyone to take some time to slow down and appreciate the little things. The holiday season can be a hectic time of year, and it’s easy to miss special moments with family and friends as it all speeds by.

Our tradition in the Bailey household is to watch the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” together. I’m sure it will continue this year, as the kids and grandkids will never let me for-get it. I hope and pray that you have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your own holiday traditions. n


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