Willie Wiredhand (©NRECA) is the longtime friendly face and spokesplug of rural electric cooperatives nationwide. Adopted in 1951 by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Willie’s last name is one of the original nicknames for rural electric cooperatives: “wiredhand” (because electricity brought to rural America by co-ops in the 1930s and 40s was the never-tiring, always available hiredhand to help the nation’s farmers.) Willie — with his light-socket head, wire body and electrical plug for his bottom and legs — is now considered an icon among many in the pantheon of corporate advertising characters.
Willie’s ‘birthday’ is October 30, the day before Halloween and the next to the last day of National Co-op Month. He’ll be 60.
Horry Electric Cooperative is one of several electric cooperatives across the United States that still use Willie as a ‘spokesplug’ and there are no plans to change that. “He’s recognized by young and old alike,” says James P. “Pat” Howle, executive vice president and CEO of the Cooperative. “He’s the face on our Facebook fan page, he’s featured prominently on the sign in front of our headquarters building on Cultra Road in Conway and he always makes an appearance at our Annual Meeting.”
To learn more about Willie Wiredhand and his life story, check out ‘Golden Boy’, written by Richard G. Biever , senior editor of Electric Consumer which is published by the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. Willie Wiredhand is a registered trademark of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and cannot be used without permission of NRECA.