Blue Ridge EMC’s first Alleghany crew - Carolina Country

Blue Ridge EMC’s first Alleghany crew

Blue Ridge EMC’s first Alleghany crew

The only one of this 1955 Alleghany district crew who is alive is Oscar Evans, who helped me identify them. From left: Jess Gentry, Oscar “Cecil” Nicholson, Claude Edwards, Clay Nichols, Jimmy Allen, Floyd Tripplet, Oscar Evans, Paul Edwards, Don Dotson, and one we can’t identify.

Our dad, Oscar “Cecil” Nicholson, worked for Blue Ridge Electric for over 23 years. He was one of the first men in the Sparta area to work for the cooperative. My sister, Linda, and I remember nights when our phone would ring all night reporting outages. Our mom would sit on a stool by the phone and write down names of people who called. Dad would know the pole number where the problem was located.

He would sometimes be gone all night after storms. After the severe storm in the winter of 1960, he was gone for days except to drop in to check on his family. The co-op men worked day and night climbing poles and repairing lines. Our family had to learn to get by without him when he was on duty. It was amazing how the men knew where to find the problems.

Times have changed and technology has made it possible for men today to use bucket trucks to do what men did then by foot and hand. The men who worked on those early Blue Ridge EMC crews were the core of the cooperative and helped to build Blue Ridge EMC into the strong co-op that it is today.

Patricia Edwards, Sparta, Blue Ridge Electric

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