Celebrating co-op independence

James P. “Pat” Howle, Executive Vice President and CEO

Earlier this month, we celebrated our nation’s independence.  In the midst of apple pies and hot dogs, fireworks shows and parades, I couldn’t help but think about the independent streak that inspired groups of farmers around America’s countryside to band together and improve their quality of life.

Aside from President Franklin Roosevelt’s promise of federal aid in the form of low-interest loans and engineering expertise, rural Americans didn’t have much help in bringing electricity to their homes. They pulled themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps and did it themselves.

This independence not only tends to inspire cooperatives; it’s a guiding principle. The Fourth Cooperative Principle, “Autonomy and Independence,” means that no matter what contracts and alliances Horry Electric Cooperative might enter into, we will always remain an independent entity.

Each year, Horry Electric’s Annual Meeting of Members becomes an independence celebration. You hear reports from the co-op’s leadership and, in short order, we take care of co-op business. I would like to take this time to thank those of you who attended and participated in this year’s Annual Meeting. In spite of the frustration of the long lines due to the overwhelming numbers of people who came before the doors were even opened for registration, we had more than 7,500 members join us at the meeting. That’s co-op spirit for you.

Electric cooperatives form a vast network across the country, from coast to coast. Co-op lines are strung in 47 states, serving 42 million people—a different world from 1935, when much of America remained dark. This Fourth of July, as we recognize the hard-fought war that created the United States, I’ll also tip my hat to Horry Electric’s founders, who beat incredible odds to make life better for themselves and their neighbors.

We look forward to seeing you again next year at our Annual Meeting on May 13, 2014, when we’ll celebrate our co-op’s autonomy and independence all over again.

Questions?  Please call us at 843.369.2211. 


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