Bill Sherrod Receives Service Award

Longtime Cooperative Living magazine editor Bill Sherrod, known for his quarter-century of dedication to the electric cooperative community, is the 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Bill Sherrod

As editor, Sherrod took the association’s flagship magazine to new heights, reaching more than 1.2 million readers 10 times a year with compelling stories, columns and essays that celebrated and advanced the cause of electric co-ops and small-town lifestyles.

Sherrod also served as vice president for communications and public relations for the VMD Association, developing communications strategies with the association’s 15 member co-ops and serving as spokesman on energy-related issues.

In presenting the award, Richard G. Johnstone Jr., president and CEO of the VMD Association, said Sherrod has embodied the cooperative spirit through his stewardship of Cooperative Living and his outreach to the communications teams at VMD member cooperatives.

“All of us involved with the electric cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware are thrilled that the Awards Committee unanimously felt that Bill’s 25-year career has been so exceptional in both achievements and service that it’s worthy of being celebrated and honored,” Johnstone said.

“Bill has been a bedrock for the association for a quarter-century, an integral part of every success we’ve enjoyed in all of our service areas, but most especially for his excellent work on Cooperative Living magazine,” Johnstone added. “His record of distinguished service to the electric cooperatives in our three states is one of the most exemplary I’ve ever seen or heard of.”

Fletcher “Bob” Jones, chairman of the VMD Association’s Board of Directors, said Sherrod has been an invaluable contributor to the cooperative movement.

“Bill’s exceptional communications skills have enabled us to tell the cooperative story to millions of readers, who rely on that information to improve their daily lives. He is a trusted friend and adviser, and this award reflects the pride we have in him,” Jones said.

A Richmond-area native, Sherrod attended Henrico High School and graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1977. He is a past editor of the Times-Virginian in Appomattox, Va., and began his career with a newspaper in Lewes, Del.

He joined the VMD Association in 1994 and has won numerous writing awards. He served as president of the National Electric Cooperative Statewide Editors Association in 2006-07 and as a judge for the annual Virginia Outdoor Writers Association essay contests. Sherrod is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman. He currently holds the title of senior editor at Cooperative Living.

Changing Lives: Power Line Worker Program makes a difference

Julie Thompson Manning was concerned about her youngest son, Charlie. Coming out of high school in Midlothian, Va., he was still looking for the right path to follow. His one passion was climbing, whether it was on an indoor rock wall or with friends in the West Virginia mountains.

The answer came in the mailbox.

A 2018 feature story on the Gaff-n-Go Lineworkers’ Rodeo in Cooperative Living caught the eye of Manning, whose family had recently moved to Southside Electric Cooperative territory in Powhatan.

“This would be perfect for Charlie. He could climb for a living. Yes, he would have to be interested in this!” Manning recalls thinking.

Manning invited her son to lunch — “food is a great motivator,” she notes. She showed him a video about the Power Line Working Training School at Southside Virginia Community College, a program created with the help of electric cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

Two weeks later, he asked for contact information and enrolled in the 11-week course that provides a foundation for a career in the electric lineworker industry. He excelled at the school and was employed even before graduation day.

“Can you imagine the joy I felt?” his mother asks, saying her son has a career he loves. “This all came from a move to the country, from a magazine that happened to be in my mailbox, to a picture of a man on a pole, to a shared lunch, to a video that changed a life forever.”

Today, Charlie, 21, works for the city of Estes Park, Colo., where he can climb the Rockies and utility poles to his heart’s content. His mom gives a big shoutout to SVCC for helping a boy become a man.

“He tells me often how much the people of Estes Park admire the lineworkers and all they do to keep the electricity flowing in their mountain city,” Manning says.

Want to motivate your son or daughter similarly? Check out southside.edu/.
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MAKING A SPLASH. Christina Edwards of Woodford, a Rappahannock Electric Cooperative member, sent us this photo. “COVID-19 hasn't kept my four-year-old grandson, Connor James, from enjoying summer!“ she wrote.

How are you enjoying your summer? Got any photos you’d like to share with us? Send them to [email protected]
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STAR POOCH. Ruckus had a great Fourth of July! Did you? Thanks for sharing this photo, Amanda McLellan!

If you’d like to share your favorite July Fourth photos with us for consideration in next year’s Say Cheese column, you can share them in the comments below or by emailing them to [email protected]
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