"Almost two years to the day, I stood here talking about how to work through the fires," said Ray Beavers, CEO and manager of United Electric Cooperative. "I came and saw the destruction and there were tears in my eyes as I spoke."
Beavers was on hand to present a $500 check to Camp Grady Spruce to fund its scholarship program and brief members during the Possum Kingdom Chamber of Commerce biannual membership meeting April 23.
"There is no better thing I can think of to spend this money on, than to send children to a great camp like this," said Beavers. "PK is very resilient. In just two years, you have worked together to build this community back."
Beavers, who was the guest speaker at the event, shared video footage and spoke of the conditions under which his staff functioned in their efforts to restore service following the PK Complex fires in 2011. He described linemen who were covered with soot and ash, some suffering from weeks of respiratory illness following their work at PK.
"They were just so focused on doing their job," he said.
"It blew my mind that nine days later we had power restored in those unbelievable conditions. The linemen, our first responders, put their lives on the line to serve the members of our co-op."
Guests were treated to a meal provided by Ben E. Keith cooks and served by camp staff in the Ray Bean cafeteria.