What I'm thankful for

By David Bailey, General Manager

When Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s traditional to spend some time thinking about what we’re grateful for and the many blessings we have. For my part, I’m always thankful for my lord and savior Jesus Christ and the privilege to live in a country where I can worship freely.

As the general manager of a cooperative, I’m thankful for all the wonderful people who work at South Alabama Electric Cooperative. Being a co-op employee isn’t quite like any other job. They work hard every day, not just for themselves but also to better serve you, the members. I am also thankful for my wonderful family.

I’m sure all of us are thankful to have made it through another hurricane season without any major damage. We suffered minimal damage during Hurricane Michael and our linemen and employees did a great job of restoring our outages in a timely manner. As you have probably seen, some of our neighbors were not as fortunate but we were more than happy to go and help our fellow cooperatives.

The damage Hurricane Florence did in the Carolinas was significant and so was the damage in Florida and Alabama from Hurricane Michael. It has been many years since our system has faced damage from a storm of the severity Florence and Michael had, but we know it will eventually be our turn. I have confidence that when that time comes, our employees and fellow cooperatives will step up to ensure you aren’t without electric service for long.

For those times when the lights do go out, I would like to encourage all of you to download the SAEC app. It’s a free and powerful tool that can notify you of power outages, show you where they are and help you find the right number to call to report an outage.

To help you control your energy bills, the app monitors your electric usage. You can even set notifications so you never miss a bill payment, or you can pay your bill quickly and easily straight from the app.

I’m also thankful for another successful annual meeting, which was at the end of last month. One of the defining features of a cooperative is your ability to take part in the business of your utility and to decide who represents your interests. I want to thank everyone who came out to make their voice heard and who took part in our trustee election.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a speech given by youth tour participant Max Copeland. If you heard him speak, you know why SAEC is so excited to be able to support the youth in our local communities and schools.

Max represented the cooperative on the Washington Youth Tour this summer and, while there, he was also selected to return for a second tour as the Alabama representative on the Youth Leadership Council. At that time, one council delegate will be chosen as the spokesperson for the council at both the national and regional NRECA annual meetings. We’re proud to have Max representing our area, and we wish him luck. You can read in this issue of Alabama Living about how to apply to this year’s Youth Tour on page 51.

In this month’s magazine, you can read about another inspiring young person, one who was taken from us too soon. Alex Wilcox lost her battle with cancer earlier this year, but it is humbling to me to see how God was able to use her life to impact so many people in so short a time.

Her story reached across her community and even the nation, serving as a beacon to others and an example of how to face adversity with courage and grace. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends.

Finally, I hope you’ll all take a few moments this month to reflect on the things you’re most thankful for in your own lives, whether it’s a loving family, good friends or the freedoms we enjoy each day. I know I’m always thankful for the opportunity to serve a community as caring and hardworking as ours. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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