Aaron Lay, a senior at Sequoyah High School, was named national spokesperson for the Washington Youth Tour.

Sponsored by local electric cooperatives and coordinated by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Youth Tour brings thousands of high school seniors to the nation’s capital each summer to learn about public policy, rural issues and cooperatives. Lay was a 2017 Youth Tour delegate from Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative.

More than 1,800 delegates from across the country participated in the 2017 Washington Youth Tour. Lay was named Tennessee’s representative to the Youth Leadership Council in June and recently appointed national spokesperson.

“We are celebrating this great accomplishment with Aaron,” says Jarrod Brackett, CEO of Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative. “This is a great reminder that rural Tennessee students are second to none. We know that Aaron will be an excellent representative of our state and our co-op.”

Lay will address some 8,000 attendees of the 2018 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association annual meeting in Nashville to share his experiences from the Youth Tour.

“We are excited about Aaron’s selection as national spokesperson for the Youth Tour,” says David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “He stood out on Youth Tour as a leader among leaders, and we are excited to see how he uses his talents to tell the story of rural Tennessee.”

Aaron is the son of Butch and Lisa Lay of Madisonville.


If the fireworks show is in your yard this July 4, steer clear of power lines. Most people celebrate by watching a local, professional show — supervised by firefighters. But if you’re starting the performance early with consumer fireworks, here are some tips:

Your fireworks might be legal, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. The U.S. Fire Administration reports thousands of fireworks-related injuries each summer. The biggest threats: firecrackers, followed by bottle rockets and sparklers, which burn at about 2,000 degrees.

Fireworks are especially dangerous when used near power lines, so stay clear. Light fireworks only in open areas where no power lines can be seen, and call your cooperative immediately if your celebration gets tangled in an overhead wire.

Follow these additional safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Children should be spectators, not participants, in the show. Never give children fireworks or sparklers.
  • Read and carefully follow directions and warning labels. Most injuries result from improper use.
  • Keep spectators at least 20 feet away and not downwind from where the fireworks will be set off.
  • Light fireworks only on a smooth, flat surface away from all flammable materials, including dry leaves.
  • Never try to relight fireworks that don’t function.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of fire.