The 'Cool' Factor

Through colorful images and heartfelt words, elementary school pupils share some of the reasons why they think electric cooperative linemen are so downright 'cool.'

by Richard G. Johnstone Jr., Exec. Editor

Richard Johnstone

Through colorful images and heartfelt words, elementary school pupils share some of the reasons why they think electric cooperative linemen are so downright ‘cool.’

A long-standing Cooperative Living tradition is our youth art contest, in which we ask kindergarteners through fifth-graders to draw or paint a picture around an assigned topic. Over the years, we’ve plowed some pretty familiar thematic ground, ground that’s been trod and deeply furrowed by every able teacher, den mother, summer camp counselor and babysitter.

During our contest’s history, we’ve asked Virginia’s finest young artists to splash color and creativity across sketch paper and thus bring to life such tried-and-true subjects as heroes and favorite pets, the best way to spend a summer day, and of course “what I want to be when I grow up.”

This year, though, we boldly went where we’ve never been before, tossing out an artistic assignment of a new and narrower sort: “Why my cooperative linemen are so cool.” (Not merely cool, mind you, but SO cool.) And the Commonwealth’s youngest generation delivered. Of the thousands of artistic creations we’ve seen over the years, some of the freshest, most colorful, best-thought-out ones we’ve ever seen arrived at our editorial doorstep in response to this year’s theme.

These pupils from across the state obviously recognized great new material for their creative output when we issued our call for entries earlier this year. We were extremely impressed with all the entries, which depicted through crayon, pencil and (in several instances) watercolor brush the derring-do, bravery, and old-fashioned heroism of linemen.

Most of the kids’ creations, naturally, featured linemen braving nature’s worst to bring the lights back on. Many of the renderings depicted linemen with very large muscles, some pictured them as superheroes in hard hats, and most included linemen in, on, or beside trucks, trucks of all makes, models, styles, sizes and colors. Good stuff indeed.

As we do every July, photos of the winning entries from each grade level, and the best in show, constitute our cover story.

But we were also impressed that several young artists added the written word to their visual creation, incorporating into their illustration or adding in its margins descriptions of how and why linemen are “so cool.” In this column, we wanted to share some of the written thoughts of these young scribes, unadorned, earnest and honest, as they outline “why my cooperative linemen are so cool.” And as you might expect, we couldn’t have said it any better (or even as well) ourselves!

They are cool because of the amazing macheans that can reach very high up. They are called chery picers. Line men are cool because they work on power lines, and power lines power so many things.


— Charles Schilling, 1st grade, Fredericksburg


Sometimes linemen have to work in bad weather.


— Chance Sims, 2nd grade, Mineral


Linemen are cool because of thier trucks.


— Jack Burton, 2nd grade, Jeffersonton


We work in the heat to bring you the cool!


— Ryan Wheeler, 5th grade, Mineral


And finally, mentioned by multiple kids, is the coolest answer of all:


I like linmen becase thay help us.


— Ryan Burton, Kindergarten, Jeffersonton


My lineman is cool because it helps me and you.


— Katelynn Jones, 2nd grade, Louisa


Because they help us!


— Maddy Smith, 2nd grade, Clarksville.



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