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    It was a beautiful day with perfect weather, plenty of food and irresistible baked goods served at the WIRE concessions, fun activities for the kids and entertainment for the young and young at heart. We would like to thank all of our members who attended and made this event a great success!

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Palmetto Electric Cooperative registered 4,392 members at this year's Annual Meeting held Saturday, May 3 at Palmetto's Ridgeland office on Highway 278, three miles west of Ridgeland. "We would like to thank all of our members who attended and made this event such a great success," said G. Thomas Upshaw, president and CEO of the utility.

The business meeting focused on the accomplishments of Palmetto Electric which included the following initiatives:

  • Members were thanked for filling out the EPA Take Action cards. This important initiative sends a message to convince the EPA and Congress to hold electric rates down.
  • In 2013, Palmetto Electric celebrated the 10th Anniversary of our Bright Ideas teacher grants. We awarded a record $41,230 for innovative classroom projects.
  • Operation Round Up, one of our most successful community focused programs, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1989, Operation Round Up has raised nearly $7 million for local worthy causes.
  • Palmetto Electric's president and CEO, Tom Upshaw will retire June 30, 2014. On July 1, Berl Davis will officially begin his duties as Palmetto Electric's new president and CEO.

It was reported that Palmetto Electric will be returning over $3.5 million in Capital Credits to members who received electric service in 1984, 1985 and/or 2013.

Four Directors were elected to serve on Palmetto Electric's Board. Incumbents C. Alex Ulmer (Beaufort County Position 3), Carolyn Grant (Beaufort County Position 6), Jimmie McMillan (Hampton County Position 3) ran unopposed. For Jasper County Position 3, Dr. Earl Bostick, Sr., defeated petition candidate R. David Sauls.

In addition, the following Board officers were re-elected: Jeremiah E. Vaigneur chairman; C. Alex Ulmer, vice chairman; and, Eunice T. Spilliards secretary-treasurer.

This year three scholarships were presented from Palmetto Electric's Women Involved in Rural Electrification (WIRE) organization. Aida Carrillo from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, Brooke Phillips from Bluffton High School and Blake Stoner from Thomas Heyward Academy each received a $1,000 scholarship for their college education.

Also, four high school juniors from the Lowcountry were recognized for being selected to represent Palmetto Electric in the Washington Youth Tour, a week-long, all expense paid educational trip to Washington, D.C. The representatives chosen this year are Marcel Smith and Dakota Story from Bluffton High School, Vanessa Orrell from Hilton Head Preparatory School and Ja'len Beacher Orr from Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School. Also recognized was Priscilla Neville from Hilton Head Island High School who was chosen to be the Statewide Student Representative and Anne Carr a teacher from Bluffton High School who was selected to serve as a chaperone.

This year's grand prize winner was Susan Sobolesky of Bluffton, SC. She won the 2006 Ford Ranger XLT SuperCab.