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Patriotism highlights annual PEC meeting

Last Saturday’s annual meeting of Pioneer Electric Cooperative offered those in attendance a surprise that turned out to be a true “Kodak moment.” 

A short time before the official kickoff of the meeting, everyone was asked to circle around a special pole that had been installed behind the bleachers at the Butler County Fairgrounds, the site of the yearly event. It would be a flag ceremony unlike just about anything the audience had witnessed.

A group of PEC linemen in full work gear– Louis Ulmer, Johnny Taylor, Heath Peavy, Keith Crittenden, Kevin Brogden and Perry Castleberry– climbed up one by one, stationing themselves at intervals on the pole. Washington and Montgomery Youth Tour participants Autumn Laymon, Braxton Daniels, Hannah Schofield, Hannah Free and Colton Roberts presented an American flag to the six linemen, who proceeded to carefully pass the flag from one to the other until it reached the pinnacle, where Ulmer placed it in a holder. The linemen all removed their hard hats as the National Anthem played, attendees gazing up at the flag rippling in the breeze, some capturing it on video and in photos.

Margaret Pierce was one of those in attendance. She had the chance to meet and chat with some of the linemen before the ceremony, and admitted she had quite the lump in her throat as she watched it unfold.

“I was reminded of my own favorite PEC lineman,” she said.

PEC Communications specialist Casey Rogers said it was exciting to add “a little something special” on the occasion of the cooperative’s 80th year in the area.

“We’ve gotten a fabulous response from our pole top flag presentation and we hope to do it again at events in the future.”

Before the meeting, attendees had the opportunity to go up, up (and not too far away) in tethered hot air balloon rides over the Butler County Fairgrounds; to relax, sip on ice-cold water and listen to live music under the big tent; to chat with the young Montgomery and Washington Youth Tour participants, and learn more about electrical safety and PEC programs and services from its employees.

And there was a bevy of door prizes, too, with several members—Viola Davis, John Beverly, Willie Foster, Judy Thrower,  Hudson Thomas, David Boswell, Mary Simmons, Sandra Poole, Dan Whiddon and Diana Morgan–winning $80 bill credits. One lucky gentleman, Joecephus Steel of Tyler, won a year of free electricity (up to $2,000).

“We are all very proud of the great turnout at this year’s annual meeting,” Rogers said.

For those who missed the special flag ceremony or want a chance to experience it again, Rogers says the flag presentation video and a full photo album can be viewed on the Pioneer Electric Facebook page, with highlights included in the November edition of the Alabama Living Magazine.