SO MANY FACETS OF LIFE depend on electricity that it’s easy to take power for granted. But this December, in the final month of Kentucky Living’s yearlong 75th anniversary celebration, I think back to stories from those who remember a time before electricity.
In the December 1983 issue of this magazine, Kenneth Russelburg remembered Christmas Eve, 1956. He was 15 at the time, and along with his family, he eagerly awaited electric power for Christmas Day. Kenneth’s father had hired a man to wire the house, and the only thing that stood between the family and electrical service was an inspection.
“We even had the lights on the Christmas tree, just waiting for the electricity to be turned on,” Kenneth said.
A co-op inspector came to the Russelburg home that Christmas Eve only to find that the man who had wired the house had made mistakes, and turning on service would be dangerous. Kenneth’s baby sister, Debbie, began to cry.
“The inspector felt sorry for her, I guess,” Kenneth said. “He went to his car and got the tools he needed to correct the mistakes. He went through the house and grounded the wires and fixed all of the mistakes, even though this wasn’t his job. Then he turned the electricity on.”
Can you imagine what that Christmas Day must have been like? Electricity, and the kindness of a co-op employee, were two unexpected gifts for the Russelburg family in 1956. This is not only the legacy of electric cooperatives across Kentucky—it’s also our present and our future. Cooperatives put consumer-members first, providing safe and reliable electricity all year long and investing in the communities where we live, work and celebrate the holidays along with you.
As December days shorten and nights grow cold, I hope we each take time to enjoy the beauty of the season—and to appreciate the miracles of light that surround us. Merry Christmas.