Appreciation for Those Who Serve

By David Bailey, General Manager

June 2021

Each June I find myself thinking about two dates. The first is June 6, better known as D-Day, and the second is Lineman Appreciation Day, when the state of Alabama recognizes our electric lineworkers.

When it comes to the first, there are few moments that have impacted me as much as visiting Normandy as a young Army brat. As a child, I remember picturing comic book-like battles taking place on those beaches. But as I matured, I learned that war isn’t like it’s depicted in comic books.

I think of those soldiers hunkered down in their Higgins boats as they made their way toward the shoreline, praying they could overcome the obstacles ahead of them. I often think about what must have been going through their heads in those moments. Were they thinking about their families back home, wondering if they would see them again? Did they long to go hunting or see their kids play a ballgame just one more time?

I don’t know but I thank the Lord that they did track forward and were victorious.

Some of them were fortunate enough to make it through and enjoy those simple pleasures again. But others never made it home and are still entombed in the military cemetery at Normandy. I am honored they served and will always be proud of the bravery they showed on those beaches.

In this time in our country, we have a growing number of people bashing our country and its history. While I would be the first to admit our country is no utopia, I would challenge anyone to name a country greater than the United States of America and find a group of people who fought harder to preserve freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for their loved ones.

It’s our charge for us to learn and educate others of the historical truth about our country. When you know the truth, then you will not fall into the non-truth statements being spoken against our country. It’s no different in knowing the truth about your faith.

The second day I think of at this time of year is Lineman Appreciation Day. If you want to hear a great tribute to linemen, I would recommend giving a listen to the Glen Campbell classic “Wichita Lineman.” In it, he sings about these tireless men and women who have dedicated themselves to a life of being always on call. They may be pulled away from their families in the middle of the night or asked to work in the wind and rain.

Linemen do all that and more to restore the electric service on which we have all come to rely. It’s a great career and a rewarding one. But it is also incredibly demanding, and even with all the safety measures our crews take, it can be dangerous. After all, there are not many second chances when it comes to electricity.

Even with all the work I have put into my career in the electric industry, I would never compare myself to our linemen and the commitment they show each day. It is a difficult job, and all too often a thankless one. So I would like to show my appreciation to our lineworkers at SAEC, as well as those serving all across the country.

Please when you see our lineworkers in the field or in the community, thank them for their work at your cooperative. It means more than you think!

Some of our members may have also noticed that we have a new trustee this month, Tim Sanders. I encourage all of you to take some time to read about him in this magazine and get to know the man who will be representing the people of District 7. For my part, I can say that Mr. Sanders has shown great humility in taking on this new role, and I have no doubt he will serve our members well.

I also hope that this column will inspire some of our members to take a deeper look at the history of our country. It’s a topic I am passionate about, which is why I take every opportunity I can to teach our members about the proud past of both our electric cooperative and our nation. We can learn a lot from our own history, and I encourage each of you to educate yourself rather than let someone else do it for you.