Cooperatives were born to bring electricity to rural communities across the country and to make life better for those we serve. That same cooperative spirit is sending volunteer line technicians from cooperatives across North Carolina to a tiny village in Bolivia in spring of 2019. Blue Ridge Energy is proud to be part of this effort to build first-time electricity access to a remote, rural area and change lives forever.
Blue Ridge Energy line technicians selected for this honor are: Eddie Stephens, Watauga crew leader, who also has the honor of being selected as crew leader for the entire NC team; Jerry Gregg, Caldwell line tech A; and alternate Faron Atwood, Alleghany crew leader. They will be part of the North Carolina team of 14 volunteers and two alternates. These volunteers will build approximately 2.3 miles of single-phase primary and 2.5 miles of secondary line that will bring electricity to 70 homes and other structures.
This project will take place in the remote village of Laphia, in the Tiquipaya region, in the state of Cochabamba between the capital city of LaPaz and the city of Santa Cruz. Volunteers will stay in modest lodging with running water for the 2½ week trip. An English speaking guide will be with the volunteer group at all times.
NRECA International, an international affiliate of 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.
The interest within the Blue Ridge line technicians to be part of this project was so enthusiastic, it forced names to be randomly drawn from a hat to determine who would be representing Blue Ridge Energy in this life changing effort.
“I’m extremely proud of all our linemen who volunteered—without hesitation—to help those less fortunate,” said Robert Kent, Blue Ridge Energy operations director. “This will be a difficult trip, but helping others is what Blue Ridge employees do.”