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Walking in a volunteer’s footsteps

Leading the way


Watch where you walk. Someone may be following in your footsteps.

That adage proved especially true for Richard Steele, a lineworker with Clark Energy for the past six years and a contract lineworker for the two previous years.

For most his life, Richard was active in 4-H and FFA. Through them, he learned about livestock. More importantly, he learned about responsibility. “The cattle and goats all needed to be cared for year-round and multiple times a day through the summer,” Richard recalls.

Clark Energy lineworker Richard Steele showed cows and goats as a teenager and has judged all manner of livestock as an adult leader in 4-H. Photo: Cyndi Steele

He is proudest of the men who followed in his footsteps.

Brent Mastin, Dale Mastin and James Perkins from 4-H days went on to attend lineworkers schools and now work as apprentice lineworkers.

Richard understands why they wanted to become lineworkers.

“I get to work in rural parts of my community,” he says. “I have lived here my whole life, and now get to serve the people I grew up around.”

Drone detectives


Stephen Miller, an electrical engineer with Warren RECC, is the epitome of a volunteer, including his work with students and the local American Legion to help veterans in need.

Miller was at the helm when a group of local high school students recently watched an object fly slowly over an electric power line.

It was a drone. Drones are giving Warren RECC a better view of lines and substations because they can get close enough to find problems as small as loose screws before they turn into something more serious. The cooperative also uses them for thermal imaging and with solar energy and alternative energy.

Warren RECC engineer Stephen Miller, second from left, delivers furniture to a veteran who just returned home from heart surgery. He volunteers often with the American Legion to help vets. Photo: Kim Phelps

The students watching that day were members of the Warren Central High School Technology Club. Miller guides the drone and explains its potential. Volunteering with local schools and getting kids excited about engineering and technology is what he considers the best part of his job.

“Warren RECC is owned by those we serve,” says Miller, “and it is so rewarding and fulfilling to be able to give back to that community, particularly when it involves young people.” 

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