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Warren RECC celebrating 80 years of electric service to Southern Kentucky

Don Lindsey

Over 50 years after Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb, rural families were able to reap the benefits of electricity. In 1938 Warren RECC was established by the REA, Rural Electrification Administration, an agency created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration.

It took years to convince some farmers that electric was the way of the future. Why would someone that goes to bed with the chickens and rises hours before the rooster crows for the morning sunrise, need light bulbs, kerosene lamps worked and were portable.

When they saw the neighbors getting hooked up with 30 amp breakers on the side of the house and wiring on the inside for lights and appliances like mixers, irons, fans, water pumps and an electric refrigerator. They eventually gave in and threw out the kerosene lantern.

In my opinion, there was probably a little prodding from the wife also.

My generation remembers when JFK was assassinated, the day Elvis died, and the Space Challenger explosion. My grandfather’s generation remembers the Pearl Harbor tragedy when FDR died, and the day the REA dropped off the power pole beside their house.

An elderly friend of mine didn’t get power in her area until 1950. She would stare at the light bulb shining in the kitchen for hours.

Henry Lindsey, my great-grandfather, passed away in 1947. He farmed his whole life and never had electricity. This is something we take for granted today. One of my early childhood memories is of the lineman stopping by the house before dark and flipping the switch for the street light with a 20-feet wooden pole.

The mailman delivers in the rain, sleet, or snow, but the lineman clears the path for them.

Many a special occasion such as a child’s school event, church or birthdays have been missed because of a thunderstorm rolling through and knocking out power, it’s the lineman’s dedication that sends them out, no matter the weather conditions.

Warren RECC started out with a handful of employees and a few hundred customers. Today they have 160 employees and 65,000 customers over eight counties.

Happy Birthday Warren RECC.

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