A thousand words in black and white

Baldwin EMC CEO Karen Moore

It’s been said time and time again that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” If that’s true, then Baldwin EMC’s archives are filled with millions of them. We have files that are overflowing with photographs from the cooperative’s yesteryear.

When our communications department needed help identifying the people, places and events in these photos, they knew exactly where to turn.

A few times each year, several of our retirees get together to share breakfast and memories. It’s always a pleasure to be a “fly on the wall” and hear their stories of the earlier days of Baldwin EMC.

This summer when our retirees met, they were given the chance to look over and identify dozens of old photos from Baldwin EMC’s archives, some dating back as far as 60 years.

These images, with their fading shades of gray and their tattered edges, paint a larger picture of a cooperative that has been a part of the community for close to 80 years. They tell the remarkable story of a group of people who came together to improve the quality of life for themselves and their neighbors.

The people in them have changed. The offices, the equipment, the cities and towns we serve all look quite different from those black and white Polaroids. One of the photos that circulated around the retirees during their last get-together was of two men working on power lines in what was probably one of Baldwin EMC’s first bucket trucks. Neither of them has on safety glasses, gloves or any protective equipment at all. I shudder at the thought of sending any one of our linemen to do that kind of work without the proper safety gear today. However, what was available to us now was only a dream for the men in that photo. They did the best job they could and worked safely with the tools and equipment they had.

These days, our photographs are digital and in color. In spite of the differences, they have something in common with the black and white images of our archives. They’re the reflection of dedication, hard work and a commitment to serving members and our community. Yes, the way we do business has changed, but the reason why we do business is exactly the same.

I can’t even imagine what kind of technology will exist in 50 years, when the new generation of Baldwin EMC employees look back on the photos we’re taking and even the words I’m writing today. I’m sure there will be comments about the clothes we’re wearing and comparisons to the current tools of the trade.

I do hope when that day in the distant future comes, Baldwin EMC’s employees can say the same things for themselves as I’ve said in this column: that we’re working together to serve our members.

That’s not quite a thousand words, but I think it’s just enough.

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