Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative

The renewable, green energy source, generated and transmitted by Buckeye Power for OEC members, has been available since 2017 when the OurSolar program was launched.

Reality check

The hours of bright sunshine that come with scorching Ohio summers often spur people to consider harnessing energy from the sky’s brightest star with rooftop solar panels.

Bright side

Demarco Deshaies of Rockridge in Hocking County decided to investigate solar as a backup after losing electric service for several days following a devastating February 2022 winter storm.

Funny cars are one of the crowd favorites at Dragway 42.

Wanna drag?

Jeff Gates, a tool and die maker from Republic, was hoping to introduce his 1965 Ford Ranchero to the world during Thursday Night Thunder on this fine evening at Dragway 42 in the Wayne County village of West Salem. The car, however, had other ideas.

When asked if he couldn’t just drop it off at a local garage and have them repair it, the veteran racer laughs. 

“No, this is the fun part,” he says. “At least most of the time, so long as you get to run them every now and then. I just enjoy building this stuff.”

Gary Snyder pictured with a bronze plaque honoring his comrades

Some gave all

It was the pandemic that moved him to action. “I was just sitting around, getting outside, kind of bored,” he says. “We have a lot of space out here, and I started thinking I ought to put in a memorial for my buddies who didn’t make it back.”

And so, he did. With the help of landscapers, stonemasons, contractors, and monument-makers, Snyder funded and built an impressive military memorial right in his backyard. 

Lorain-Medina school donation

A little help

School districts across the country struggled with how to continue their operations through the COVID-19 pandemic. How could they keep kids and teachers safe during in-building instruction?

But the coronavirus did force changes. The district needed to find a way to teach the 230 students who chose online instruction, while keeping those in the buildings safe with increased personal protective gear and gallons upon gallons of sanitizer for hands and high-touch surfaces, as well as other incidentals that came up every day.

“Contrary to what anyone may think, these expenses have not been just a drop in the bucket, and there has not been much help forthcoming from the state or federal government,” Clark says. “All of our COVID-related expenses have really added up.”

Coach Andrew Ruffing

Win-win

After a long, demanding day at work as part of a line crew, some of our electric co-op team members tackle a different sort of assignment. Swapping their hard hat for a coach’s cap, they’re in for a whole new ballgame.

Andrew Ruffing, apprentice lineman at North Central Electric Cooperative based in Attica, sees many similarities between his day job and coaching football. “You’re part of something bigger than yourself. That resonates in both sports and linework,” he says. “You learn to work as a team, to work toward a common goal.”

Ray Crock

Flying high at Camp Ohio

Summer camp means a week of adventure, and Camp Ohio does not disappoint. Every year, hundreds of 4-H’ers travel to Licking County to test their courage on a high ropes course, make wood-burning crafts and tie-dye T-shirts, and form lifelong friendships.

It seemed like a perfect activity for Camp Ohio, but the $10,000 price tag was far too steep for the nonprofit’s budget. Since the utility poles were the most expensive component, McConnell wondered if an electric cooperative would consider donating them to make the Flying Squirrel a reality for 4-H’ers.

McConnell ran the idea by Ray Crock, energy advisor at New Concord-based Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative, who was happy to help. An active 4-H’er growing up, Crock and his wife, Lisa, are longtime advisors for their children’s 4-H club, Flocks of Fun.

lineworker in bucket

Co-op lineworkers: Always on

Weather forecasters knew it was a potentially devastating storm — a moisture-laden system rolling up from the Gulf of Mexico on a collision course with an arctic blast from the north, with Ohio right in the crosshairs.

“It was really just a good soaking rain that first night,” Martin says.

“We were getting a few calls, and it looked like some of our members might be out for as long as a day or two. Then when we woke up the next morning and saw it in the daylight, we knew it was a bad situation.”

A lineworker stands in a bucket truck.

Stories of service

Electric cooperatives across Ohio join the nation this month in honoring veterans of the U.S. armed forces — America’s courageous protectors, defenders, and heroes. Not only do the co-ops acknowledge veterans’ dedication to our country, but we are truly grateful for the unique strengths and noble characteristics they bring to the co-op family.

We recognize all of our veteran-employees, and here, we talk to a few of them.