by David Callis, executive vice president and general manager

The Tennessee State Fair is a celebration of rural life. Recently we had the opportunity to help flip the switch and “light the midway” during the fair’s opening ceremony. It was only fitting that rural electric cooperatives were on hand to turn on the lights.

It was a perfect representation of what more than 2,600 electric co-op employees do each day across the state. The power we provide does more than chase away darkness – it powers the technology and innovation that connects us, it creates opportunity for jobs and commerce, and it ensures the safety, comfort and convenience that we often take for granted.

A lot goes on behind the scenes to get power to your home. There are people like John Spence, the Gibson EMC lineman who helped turn on the switch. There are engineers, member service representatives, foresters and communicators who work together to make a very complex job look easy.

Success means that the lights come on when our members flip the switch and their bill is affordable when it arrives in the mailbox.

Too often, our continued success is jeopardized by politicians and bureaucrats in Nashville or Washington. That is why our Take Action campaign is so important. If you have not already, please visit takeactionTN.com and submit your comments to the EPA on the Rule 111(D).

During the opening ceremony, we had a chance to meet Zoe, a young lady struggling with a serious medical condition. Her wish of being a princess came true as she proudly wore her tiara on stage with us. Her moment was made possible by the incredible efforts of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I encourage you to learn more about their work at middletennessee.wish.org.

The rural roots we celebrated at the state fair are a part of our DNA as electric cooperatives. The self-sufficient character of rural residents is something you can’t really explain; you have to experience it.

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