An independent streak – it’s as American as apple pie.
ON JULY 4, people all across this great nation are celebrating our independence. My family and I are celebrating right here at home, in what the late Senator Dick Elliott always proudly called The Independent Republic of Horry.
No, he didn’t make up the name. It was actually the original name of Horry County when it was incorporated in 1801.
Elliott, who passed away last month, proudly and proactively represented our area in the South Carolina General Assembly for 30 years with perfect attendance. He is already missed.
Horry County is surrounded by water. Without the infrastructure we have in place today, the original population was pretty much isolated. They had to fend for themselves and were extremely independent. Hence, the name—The Independent Republic of Horry.
Horry County is no longer isolated from the rest of the world, but the strong, independent character and spirit of our residents is just as strong as it was in 1801.
It’s a good thing
Having an independent streak is a good thing. It’s what built our nation. It’s what built Horry County. It’s also what 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 on their own.
This independence not only tends to inspire cooperatives; it’s actually one of our guiding principles. The Fourth Cooperative Principle, “Autonomy and Independence,” means that no matter what contracts and alliances Horry Electric Cooperative might enter into, we will always stay an independent entity.
A tip of the hat
This Fourth of July, as we recognize the hard-fought war that created the United States, I also tip my hat to the people of The Independent Republic of Horry and to Horry Electric’s founders, who beat incredible odds to make life better for themselves and their neighbors. We’re pretty lucky in this part of the world. We can all be proud to be Americans, residents of Horry County and members of Horry Electric Cooperative.