NC Co-op Linemen Volunteer for Brighter World Initiative - Carolina Country

NC Co-op Linemen Volunteer for Brighter World Initiative

13 linemen from seven electric co-ops will bring electricity to a remote Bolivian village

NC Co-op Linemen Volunteer for Brighter World Initiative

(Left to right) Jody Keane, Eric Sawyers, Jamie Elliott, Steve Preslar, Russ Flythe, Sammy Clark, Derek Avery, Dennis Kidd, Tommy Brock, Faron Atwood, Timmy Williams, Daniel Purvis, Timmy Williamson, Jerry Gregg, Blake Fleming

Thirteen linemen from seven electric cooperatives in North Carolina are joining forces this year to bring first-time electricity to a remote village in South America. Through the Brighter World Initiative, co-op volunteers are donating their time and expertise to build infrastructure that will bring new opportunities to the people of Laphía, Bolivia.

The 2019 Brighter World Initiative volunteers are:

Blue Ridge Energy Eddie Stephens, crew leader
Jerry Gregg
Edgecombe-Martin County EMC Sammy Clark
Pee Dee Electric Jody Keane
Steve Preslar
Randolph EMC Dennis Kidd
Timmy Williamson
Roanoke Electric Cooperative Jamie Elliott
Russ Flythe
South River EMC Derek Avery
Timmy Williams
Surry-Yadkin EMC Tommy Brock
Eric Sawyers
Alternates Faron Atwood, Blue Ridge Energy
Daniel Purvis, South River EMC

They will be joined by Randy White, Job Training & Safety Specialist with North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, who will provide additional support.

“We commend the Brighter World Initiative volunteers for their willingness to work in challenging conditions to help others,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president of association services & COO at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “This project is a true demonstration of the cooperative spirit that will not only change the future for the people of Laphía, but also have a lasting impact on the volunteers themselves.”

At an elevation of 11,600 feet, Laphía is in a mountainous region of Cochabamba, between the capital city of La Paz and the city of Santa Cruz. Residents there live in modest dwellings and farm potatoes and onions. At night, they use kerosene lights, candles and battery-powered lanterns for light. They are some of about 285,000 people in Cochabamba without access to electricity today.

Working together, the volunteers will string poles by hand with wire and equipment that will connect the rural village to the grid, bringing about new educational and economic opportunities. The team will work with a local utility, ELFEC, and also receive assistance from residents to build a total of about five miles of power lines. Once the project is complete, more than 68 buildings will be connected to electricity, including a school.

NRECA International, the international affiliate of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), is coordinating the effort and has been working in developing countries since 1962. Its global commitment has helped provide electricity to more than 110 million people in 43 countries.

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