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If asked to associate an image or person with CHELCO, I expect most would first picture one of our lineworkers, and rightly so. The crews outfitted in their khaki CHELCO uniforms are visible throughout our service territory. Beyond the precise and pivotal work they do perched atop a 40-foot pole or in an elevated bucket truck, they are intertwined members of our community.

That’s why CHELCO, and our fellow NRECA members, celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day on the second Monday in April. While their service to the co-op and our members is valued throughout the calendar year, we invite you to join us on April 10, 2023, as we commend and recognize the lineworkers who put their lives on the line every day to keep the power on.

Whether power is impacted by winter storms, hurricanes, traffic accidents or any other cause, lineworkers are our first line of defense and stay ready to respond when duty calls. As the co-op’s first responders, lineworkers play a significant role in providing our members with the power necessary in their day-to-day lives.

Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics put electrical line workers among the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States, according to the agency’s most recent census in 2021. Combine heights, heavy equipment and high voltage with a changing natural environment, and it’s easy to see that linemen have far from a typical or routine workspace. However, at CHELCO we continue to prepare and protect our crews to help ensure that our employees go home safely.

Along with the hard work our lineworkers do for our members, their concern for community knows no boundaries. CHELCO is proud to frequently respond with mutual aid to assist other cooperatives with needed restorations. Although this assistance is more common during hurricane season, we most recently sent a six-man crew to Kentucky to support restorations following a historic windstorm. The storm, with near-hurricane-force winds, ripped through the state on the first Friday in March, and our crews deployed first thing the next morning.

While lineworkers may be the most visible employees at CHELCO, we have an entire team of highly skilled professionals working to keep the co-op running. Our engineering and operations, finance, administration and member services and external affairs divisions each play a critical role in running a successful co-op that strives to meet and exceed our members’ needs.

I’m proud to lead our team of more than 170 employees on our mission to deliver safe, reliable and affordable power as we strive to impact our surrounding communities. Please join me this month in celebrating the power behind your power on April 10.