Hard work and dedication

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Crisises brings out the best or the worst in people, and last week's ice storm and recovery effort revealed the good in Barry County citizens. While this area was encased in ice and power was lost in many parts of the county, we were told numerous stories about people's goodwill and willingness to help their friends and neighbors in need.

One particular story is a perfect example of how our community responds in the face of hardship. On Saturday, several local firefighters took it upon themselves to clean up the yards of Barry Electric workers. These volunteers spent their days off, helping clear broken limbs and trees branches from outside the homes of those who had been doing their job but unable to take care of their own homes. What a hands-on way of showing a community's appreciation for a job well done, and boy does our local electric cooperative deserve our thanks.

Beginning on the night of Friday, Jan. 19, when the power outages began, Barry Electric crews worked around the clock, from the early morning hours to late at night, in their efforts to restore power. The office staff at Barry Electric was also on call, fielding phone calls and keeping track of power outages throughout the system.

During this past week, I saw Barry Electric trucks, along with trucks from county cooperatives outside the area, travelling up and down the roads at all hours of the day, heading from one destination to the next in an attempt to get power restored as quickly as possible. In their commitment to meet the emergency needs of their customers, Barry Electric employees functioned on only a few hours of sleep a night and were away from their families while the ice held our county in its grip.

Our community should be proud of its local cooperative. Not once did I hear a complaint about Barry Electric. Instead community members were able to see electric crews working hard around them and accepted the fact that power would be restored as quickly as humanly possible.

The employees of Barry Electric are a special bunch. They work extremely hard and are dedicated to their jobs, particularly in the area of customer service. We are lucky to live in communities served by a utility company that is committed to its members and determined to keep rates as low as possible and service as impeccable as possible.

We join other businesses in town in thanking the employees of Barry Electric for their hard work this past week. We also appreciate all the other everyday heroes who showed themselves this week. This group includes those who helped run shelters in Cassville and Monett, emergency management personnel who helped assess needs and keep track of our county's most vulnerable citizens, countless citizens who opened their homes to suffering neighbors and those volunteer firefighters who came to the aid of their friends at Barry Electric. Thank you, thank you, thank you on behalf of all the citizens of Barry County. Your hard work and sacrifice did not go unnoticed.