DOBSON — Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corp. (EMC) holds a big meeting every year, but the most recent one had added significance as the 75th-annual gathering of the local electric cooperative.
More than 750 people showed up for last Saturday’s event at Surry Central High School to celebrate the co-op’s rich history, one deeply embedded in the community.
Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corp. is a locally owned, at-cost, not-for-profit electric cooperative that serves 27,000 members in Surry, Yadkin, Stokes, Wilkes and Forsyth counties, and maintains 4,000 miles of distribution line.
It originated with a concept that emerged in the 1930s to aid rural areas ignored by large power companies. At that time, nine out of 10 rural homes were without electric service. Cooperatives made electrification of those areas a reality through the guidance of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) established in 1935.
Two years later, the REA drafted the Electric Cooperative Corporation Act, a model law that states could adopt to enable the formation and operation of not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives. Four years later in 1941, Surry-Yadkin was founded.
Reflecting the reaching of a milestone year by Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corp., plenty of nostalgia was served up at last Saturday’s meeting.
Before it began, attendees enjoyed taking a trip down Memory Lane as they were surrounded by black and white co-op photos, and displays of technological advancements in metering and lighting.
Members wrapped up their experience by taking pictures in a photo booth to commemorate the occasion, and to add to the cooperative’s archive of historical photographs.
During a business session of the annual meeting, a report on the state of the cooperative was offered by Surry-Yadkin EMC Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Puckett.
Puckett reflected on the results of some major projects that had been completed in the past year, including an expansion of the cooperative’s solar farm in Dobson.
The business session also included the election of three directors for the co-op’s governing board: District 3 Director Willard Swift, District 8 Director David Miller and District 10 Director Eddie Campbell. Each ran unopposed and was elected by motion during the session.
Puckett wrapped up his address by recognizing special guests who were in attendance, members of the board of directors and all co-op employees.
“Our employees support our board members, and our board members support employees. Everyone is here to accomplish the same goals,” he said.