PICKENS COUNTY —A book produced by the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative takes readers through a decade-by-decade account, from the cooperative’s humble beginnings, to its present state as a modern, community-oriented power supplier.
Much of the book’s narrative was authored by Terry Ballenger, manager of communications for Blue Ridge Electric and a 45-year employee at the cooperative.
Denise McCormick, manager of member service and marketing, directed the design and layout of the volume, assisted by marketing department employees Liza Holder and Amy Childress.
The book takes readers through a decade-by-decade account, from the cooperative’s humble beginnings, to its present state as a modern, community-oriented power supplier.
Its pages profile some of the pioneers who were essential to the organization’s birth and survival, while also utilizing both vintage and more-recent photographs and documents to tell the Blue Ridge story.
Charles Dalton, president and CEO of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, noted that the book represents a historical record, but that it’s also designed to establish some markers that will serve to inform future generations.
“The expansion of electricity into America’s vast rural areas makes for a truly fascinating story,” Dalton said. “Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative has its own proud history, and I believe it’s a record of people and events that should be recounted. This 75th anniversary book represents our effort to accomplish these and some other good purposes. We’re pleased to submit it for the enjoyment of those we serve, as well as for that of other members of the public.”
Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Organized in 1940, the Upstate utility has been marking this “diamond” milestone through a number of different avenues.
At its late-April annual meeting of members, the cooperative injected a heavy dose of 75th anniversary flavor into the program.
The 5,000 attendees were treated to, among other things, the premier showing of an 11-minute video that reviewed the cooperative’s history and was projected onto big screens.
On the actual date of its founding — August 14 — Blue Ridge hosted afternoon drop-ins in the lobby of each of its offices.
Attendees enjoyed anniversary cake and other refreshments and also had opportunity to buy the coffee-table book the cooperative had published. A History of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative commemorates the first 75 years of the member-owned utility’s operation.
Another feature of the utility’s 75th observance is its “Bolts of Brightness” program. During the first few months of 2015, area residents were encouraged to put forward the names of Blue Ridge members who were making personal, positive contributions to community life.
A committee then selected 75 of these individuals to be recognized at a September awards dinner. In addition, the cooperative is to make $500 donations to the respective causes that these individual award winners support.
Copies of A History of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative can be bought at any Blue Ridge office for $10 each. The cooperative is presently providing electric service to more than 64,000 households and businesses across a five-county Upstate area.