Carroll Electric linemen head to Guatemala

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Mark Tomiello, left, and Jim Hassebrock, linemen with a combined 25 years of experience, volunteered to go to Guatemala to help build electric service to remote villages.

BERRYVILLE -- James Hassebrock and Mark Tomiello with Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville are preparing to work with linemen from other Arkansas electric cooperatives to perform a mission from the cooperatives' history books by bringing electricity to rural residents, but this time the residents live in Guatemala.

Another group of Arkansas electric cooperative linemen assisted in providing electric service to more than 450 rural Guatemala residents last year.

"The Arkansas electric cooperative linemen that worked in Guatemala last October made a tremendous difference in the lives of the residents of three remote villages," said Duane Highley, president and chief executive officer of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. "This group of dedicated men will improve the quality of lives for present and future generations in the next three villages during the upcoming effort.

"I join Arkansas electric cooperative members from across the state in expressing my pride in the men for their selfless dedication to serving others."

He said the Arkansas electric cooperatives and ERMCO are donating materials, labor and funds to assist with the project. Cooperative crews will assist in construction of electric distribution line, related infrastructure and provide some training to local line workers.

The Arkansas crews departed on March 26.

Linemen and their respective cooperatives that are participating in the project are: Kenneth Byrd and Christopher Tedford, Arkansas Valley Electric of Ozark; Michael Counts and Craig Weisenbach, Clay County Electric of Corning; Randy Evans, First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville; Shawn Dorflinger and Richard Freeland, Ouachita Electric Cooperative of Camden; Don Pinkley and Joe Cooksey, Ozarks Electric of Fayetteville; Steve Rooney, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton; and Jimmy Dean Sharp and Todd Spakes, Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana.

Doug Evans, safety manager for Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., will also assist the crew during the trip.

"Today, 1.5 billion people around the world still do not have access to electricity," said Ingrid Hunsicker, NRECA International Foundation Manager. "Electricity encourages educational and economic opportunities, paving a pathway for expanded healthcare services and more reliable water treatment facilities. "Electricity raises the standard of living in communities around the globe. We truly appreciate the cooperative spirit of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas toward this great project."

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