A time for what's most important

By David Bailey, General Manager


I don’t know about you, but this time of the year is often a battle to focus on what’s most important to me.
 
Here at the cooperative, it’s always busy. December tends to be a time for planning, when we take a look at how we performed over the last 12 months and put together a budget for the next year. There’s a lot of work to be done, and it can be easy to get completely caught up in it.
 
Sometimes I need a reality check to help remind me of what’s really important during the holiday season. I got just that recently when I heard a story from one of the linemen at Clay Electric Cooperative in Florida.
 
Seven of SAEC’s own employees volunteered to help Clay Electric get their system back online after they were struck by Hurricane Irma. When our team returned, Clay lineman Jeff Hall called to compliment them on the fine work they did, but he also shared an amazing story of his own. 
 
A week after repairs on the electric system were complete, Jeff was working to repair hurricane damage done to the roof of a beach house when a friend pointed at the ocean. They spotted a woman in the breakers yelling and waving for help. 
 
Thanks to Jeff’s quick action, they were able to rescue the woman, along with her husband who was stranded even deeper in the water. Jeff was struck by the fact that had he not been on the roof making repairs, he probably would never have seen them.
 
What stood out to me as I contemplated this busy time of year was that without his quick and courageous response, that married couple might not have had the chance to celebrate Christmas this year.
 
That’s the type of story that reminds me just how much I have to be thankful for and how important it is during the holidays to take a moment to stop and appreciate those things. This is a time to enjoy the company of friends and family and, most importantly, to celebrate the birth of our savior.
 
This is also the time each year when we look at the cooperative’s revenue and return any profits to you, our members. This month, those of you who have been members throughout 2016 will receive checks that return your share of the more than $1.2 million in capital credits that SAEC is refunding this year.
 
Capital credits are just another one of the ways cooperatives focus on our members. The profits we make don’t go to shareholders living far away. They stay right here in the community with our member-owners.
 
I hope you’ll receive your checks in time to put that money toward some Christmas shopping or toward making the holidays a little more special. I’d also like to wish each of you a merry Christmas and happy New Year.
 
All in all, 2017 has been a great year for your cooperative. I know I speak for all of us at SAEC when I say we look forward to serving you in the new year.
 

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