Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Party's Been Going 58 Years Clay Electric Cooperative Members Are Still Celebrating

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Party's Been Going 58 Years Clay Electric Cooperative Members Are Still Celebrating

Article excerpt

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- For 58 years, members of Clay Electric

Cooperative have converged on Keystone Heights for the annual

meeting where they are treated to free food, door prizes,

daylong entertainment and a chance to vote for their board of

trustees.

At this year's meeting last week, the crowd got a chance to see

how the past merges with the present and that it takes more than

a bucket truck to run an electric company.

To give its members an idea of what it does take to run an

electric company, the co-op displayed its amphibious vehicle,

called a marsh master. A far cry from a bucket truck, the marsh

master enables employees to go where few men would dare venture.

Resembling a miniature tank, the marsh master is 12 feet long,

seven feet wide. It travels 5 mph on land, 2 mph in the water,

has a mounting for an outboard motor and can carry up to 1,150

pounds. It can crawl through the thickest swamp or ford streams.

"All in the name of restoring power, adding new construction or

inspecting lines," said the company's manager of communications,

Larry Horne.

Lynn Kirtley sat near the marsh master. A long time co-op

employee, he greeted members and answered questions. Kirtley has

been attending annual meetings for 15 years. It's a day on the

job he says he thoroughly enjoys.

"It's enjoyable because you get to meet the members and see

people within the company you only see once a year," Kirtley

said.

Besides giving members a peek at modern-day equipment, Clay

Electric has always been well known for preserving its past. Its

member newsletter often displays photographs of days gone by,

and the lobby at its headquarters is filled with photographs of

the beginnings of a company that the Clay County Development

Authority lists as the third-largest employer in Clay County and

named as the top industry in the county in 1995. …

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