We all have memories of our “firsts.” Our first trip to the mountains, our first roller coaster ride, our first kiss. I have noticed a lot of people remember their first rodeo because you hear them say “this isn’t my first rodeo.”
I recently experienced a huge first as I was elected to serve Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (KEC) as their board president. I am humbled and honored.
My roots run deep in KEC. My first experience with KEC was 60 years ago. I remember boarding a passenger train in WaKeeney, Kansas, and traveling with my father to Kansas City to attend KEC meetings. This was before the interstate highway system was built across the state. Needless to say, it is an extremely surrealistic feeling, past to present.
A striking similarity from then to now is the commitment and dedication I see in the faces of electric cooperative trustees, managers and support staff. Many of the issues remain the same today as then. Power supply, rates, and regulation are usually topics front and center. Time and technology have added some new challenges. Cybersecurity, distributed generation, and declining rural populations are among newer items of discussion.
I can still see the train porter in his pressed blue suit, his formed and fitted visor cap, and his shiny black shoes as he yelled “all aboard.” I realize everything that we as cooperative members have accomplished together, as one strong voice echoing the sentiment “all aboard.”
I love looking back and reminiscing. It’s fun and it doesn’t cost anything. Reminiscing is OK. Daydreaming not so much. Keep daydreams to a minimum. The Lovin’ Spoonful even sang about it, “I’m lost in my daydreams …” Reminiscing conjures up lots of firsts. Every day we encounter new firsts. And firsts become new ideas, new relationships, and new visions. I like firsts.
Editor’s note: This is the “first” regular article to be written for Kansas Country Living by a sitting KEC board president.
Terry Hobbs is the board president for Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. He is also a member of Western Cooperative Electric’s Board of Trustees in WaKeeney.