Lending a Helping Hand

GCEC employees come together to help one of their own

By Kristin Douglas

Bob and Liz Logan enjoy a Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative family picnic in 2012—the year Bob began working at the cooperative.

It’s no secret cooperatives have a strong commitment to their communities. In fact, Concern for Community is one of the Seven Cooperative Principles. Commitment to Community is one of the four Touchstone Energy core values.

Cooperatives work to improve the quality of life in their communities. They donate time, energy and resources to charities, schools and community events, and take a leadership role in community development projects.

It should come as no surprise that when a Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative employee needed a major project completed at his home, his cooperative family rallied to help.

In May, Bob Logan, the co-op’s GIS technician, and Chief Operating Officer Francis Hinson were sharing an office space during renovation of the cooperative’s Southport district office. As officemates do, they were talking.

Francis asked Bob about his wife, Liz. Bob mentioned the couple’s home needed a new deck and the addition of a wheelchair ramp for Liz. Bob had obtained a quote for the project.

The price tag? More than $30,000. Most of the expense was labor.

Brennis Smith and Freddy Brown cut boards for the ramp as Bob Logan and Lonnie Perry look on.

“When I heard how expensive the deck replacement and addition of the wheelchair ramp was going to be, I just knew that there was no need for Bob and Liz to have to bear that financial burden,” Francis says. “I knew we had enough employees with the skill set and the tools to build the deck and ramp for them, and that if they knew Bob needed help, they would help him. So, I made Bob a deal. I told him that if he would purchase the material, the employees would build the deck and ramp.”

Francis was right. Thirty-two people arrived at daylight May 14 at the Logan residence, ready to get to work.

Those unable to attend donated food for lunch and money for snacks and sports drinks.

“These are co-op employees,” says Mike Anderson, a friend of the Logans. “This is just incredible.”

By the time a late afternoon thunderstorm stopped work for the day, the group had replaced the deck and built the ramp. Employees came back the following morning to work on the ramp’s handrails. Railing around the deck was completed in the evenings the next week.

“We are so overwhelmed and grateful for all the help we have received,” Bob says. “These folks deserve all the praise and recognition that can be sent their way. Liz and I are so thankful for their efforts and support. This was teamwork that everyone can be proud of.”