Category Archives: CEO Letter

RECOGNIZING 65 YEARS OF SERVICE

CHANGE COMES whether we are ready or not. Sometimes we’re given a little time to adjust.  Other times we just have to make do as we work through unexpected challenges.

Lately, your co-op’s leadership has been dealing with both situations. One of our long-time directors, Jimmie D. McMillan of Hampton County, in June announced his retirement from your Board of Trustees.  Just as we began adjusting to this news—mainly by expressing our gratitude to Mr. McMillan—we were saddened by the passing of James O. Freeman, another veteran trustee, also from Hampton County.

Mr. Freeman, 82, of Wagon Wheel Road near Hampton, died July 5 in the Hampton Regional Medical Center.  He began 21 years of service on the Palmetto board on February 16, 1998, but his service to his community stretched back decades.  Born February 12, 1937 in Hampton County, a son of the late James Eddie Freeman and Elsie Bowers Freeman, Mr. Freeman had an outstanding, 42-year career in law enforcement. It started in 1975 when he was elected Hampton County sheriff. Mr. Freeman served until 1982, when he was hired as an agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Mr. Freeman served with SLED until his retirement in 2008. He then returned to the Hampton County Sheriff’s Department, serving as a detective until 2017, when he retired. Mr. Freeman was a member of Sandy Run Baptist Church, where he was a choir member.

We already dearly miss him but we take comfort and inspiration from his example. In fact, both of these gentlemen personified two values that Palmetto Electric emphasizes as a Touchstone Energy Cooperative: integrity and commitment to community. With 65 years of combined service between them, both Mr. Freeman and Mr. McMillan represented their fellow members with distinction.

Mr. McMillan, whose board tenure began May 9, 1975, served as a Palmetto director for 44 years. We salute him and will miss his long-term dedication to the cooperative.  Mr. McMillan owns and operates McMillan Farms, where the primary crops are peanuts, cotton and corn.

Members like Mr. McMillan help keep Palmetto Electric connected to our rural roots. Even today, when we serve industry as well as more populous communities such as Hardeeville, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, we continue to provide power to many farming operations, particularly in Hampton County, a third of which is farmland.  

Mr. Freeman and Mr. McMillan, like the men and women who continue to serve on your board, show how people of all walks of life, by working together, can make a positive difference in local communities.  As Mr. Freeman and Mr. McMillan knew so well, cooperation is the key. Palmetto Electric Cooperative is immeasurably stronger, thanks to each of them.

We were blessed to have their leadership. Let’s all strive to follow their example of service to fellow man. 

SMALL CHANGE IS STILL CHANGING LIVES

BECAUSE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES are owned by their members, we strive to be a vital part of the communities we serve.   Concern for Community is one of the Seven Cooperative Principles that we take very seriously here at Palmetto Electric. Because of our members’ generosity, we are able to show our concern for community through programsContinue Reading

CELEBRATING THE COOPERATIVE DIFFERENCE

THANK YOU to the 3,989 members who braved the weather and attended our Annual Meeting, Saturday, May 4 at our Ridgeland office.  It is always my pleasure to visit with you and discuss the current condition of your cooperative.  Accountability and the cooperative difference was the resounding theme of this year’s meeting.  If you weren’tContinue Reading

INNOVATION AND PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

As Palmetto Electric’s mission clearly states, we are committed to delivering reliable energy and innovative related services to our members. In order to do this, we continue to make improvements and additions to our electrical system as the need arises. On December 18, 2018, a new distribution substation was energized in Jasper County. Distribution substationsContinue Reading

PUTTING IT ALL ON THE LINE

IMAGINE WAKING UP to a phone call in the middle of the night. Rain is pouring and wind is howling, but you’re ready to brave the storm and do your job. This is the reality lineworkers who serve Palmetto Electric and other cooperatives face on a regular basis. While we appreciate our extraordinary lineworkers everyContinue Reading

NEW DATE SET FOR MILLION DOLLAR HOLE-IN-ONE SHOOTOUT

AS SPRING APPROACHES, this time of year brings with it warmer weather, longer days and plenty of time for outdoor activities.  One of the most popular outdoor activities in our area, golf, is now in full swing as we prepare for upcoming events like the RBC Heritage Presented By Boeing and the 17th Annual TouchstoneContinue Reading

WELCOME BACK, LOCAL LEGISLATORS!

THANKS to our local state lawmakers for their support of Palmetto Electric Cooperative and its members!  Every other year, as the Legislature begins a new session, we’re proud to present this special Legislative Guide. We’re always in close contact with these elected offcials as we look out for you. This month’s South Carolina Living magazineContinue Reading

IMPROVING RESILIENCY TO STORMS

There have been quite a few hurricanes in recent years, but most of you remember Irma, I’m sure.  The 2017 hurricane caused record storm surges that drenched Hilton Head Island’s southern end in particular.  In Sea Pines, low-lying areas such as South Beach and Calibogue Cay, prone to tidal flooding, suffered signifcant damage and outages thatContinue Reading

A WWII VETERAN WHO STILL SERVES

Many of you know Mary Cope, a co-op retiree and World War II veteran. Some know her from Hilton Head Island, where Mary worked for Palmetto Electric Cooperative for 14 years. Many know her in my hometown of Ridgeland, where she is still making the community a better place. At 93, Mary is an active member of Great Swamp Baptist Church, crocheting up a storm toContinue Reading

CYBERSECURITY IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY

Technology breaches— think customer credit card data being stolen from Target or consumer data being stolen from Experian—have become more commonplace, ushering in a new reality of increased security measures and constant monitoring of organizational and personal data to ensure our identities, credit card numbers or bank accounts have not been compromised. At Palmetto Electric,Continue Reading