Florida Co-op Crew Frees FlagBy Derrill Holly | ECT Staff Writer Published: July 3rd, 2013
When the Stars and Stripes are in danger of being ripped apart by high winds, it’s good to have an electric cooperative with a big bucket truck headquartered in town.
That’s what the managers at Wauchula State Bank in Florida learned when gusts of 20 mph wrapped their carport-sized flag around its 90-foot tall pole, entangling its lines.
“Bank officials contacted our general manager, Randy Shaw and he asked me if we could help them out,” said Clay Stanpill, director of operations for Wauchula-based Peace River Electric Cooperative. “We had our 87-foot bucket truck available here in the yard, so I contacted one of our linemen right away.”
Billy Alexy quickly responded and within a few minutes, he and Stanpill were driving past the two- and three-story buildings lining Wauchula’s Main Street.
“The folks at the bank asked if we could get the flag unraveled before the winds ripped it apart,” said Stanpill. “So we deployed the bucket and sent Billy up and he went up to get it untangled.”
The co-op’s bucket truck was the closest and best hope for a successful rescue of the proud banner. As a dozen bank employees stood by watching and snapping photos with their cell phones, the undamaged 20-by-38 foot flag was soon waving in the breeze.
“Without the help of your company, our American flag would have possibly been damaged or even destroyed,” wrote bank president Bobby Hanchey in a letter to Shaw. “Peace River Electric went above and beyond to assist our company.”
Mark Sellers, Peace River Electric Co-op’s communications coordinator, said the rescue was a way to commemorate Independence Day, thought it occurred a few weeks ago. “That’s why we decided to make it the featured story in our co-op’s July newsletter,” he said.
“As electric co-op consumer-members mark the 237th anniversary of the signing of Declaration of Independence, those driving through central Florida can still see a huge flag waving over downtown Wauchula,” said Sellers. “With a little help from two of our staffers, and PRECO’s commitment to our community, the flag is still there.”