Blue Ridge Electric Co-op honored with philanthropy award

PENDLETON — Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative was recently named the 2012 recipient of the Tri-County Technical College Foundation’s Philanthropist of the Year award.

This is the Foundation’s highest and most prestigious honor reserved for individuals, foundations, companies, trusts, organizations, or other entities that have made a significant financial contribution, either cash or non-cash, to the Foundation to support the work of the College.

Alan Blackmon, manager of engineering at Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative, Inc., in Pickens and a member of Tri-County’s Foundation Board, accepted the award, along with Manager of Operations Sam McMillan and Manager of Finance David Collins.

“On behalf of our board, Mr. Charles Dalton (Blue Ridge President and CEO), and our member-owners, we humbly accept this award,” said Blackmon. “Tri-County is an invaluable asset to this area and Blue Ridge is proud to offer its assistance to the College and its educational programs.”

“You represent the best of our community,” said Tri-County President Ronnie L. Booth. “To recognize Blue Ridge for its generous support, the Tri-County Technical College Foundation is pleased to name Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative/Blue Ridge Security Systems its 2012 Philanthropist of the Year. “
“Blue Ridge is a company that lives its values,” said Peggy Deane, chair of the College’s Foundation Board. “The Cooperative operates on the philosophy that quality service is at the heart of its organization, and it places a premium on providing dependable electric power to its members. It also realizes the importance of education in the communities it serves and is quick to support local school systems and higher education institutions such as Tri-County Technical College,” she said.

Deane quoted Blue Ridge CEO and President Dalton as saying, “Education is a critical factor in the success of our young people. A good education not only impacts the life of the student that receives it, it also impacts our economy and affects our standard of living.”

Blue Ridge has a giving history to the Tri-County Technical College Foundation that dates back to 1986, when it made its first unrestricted pledge of $5,000. In 1994, Blue Ridge Electric honored A. J. (Jud) Hurt, the cooperative’s original general manager who was hired in 1940 and retired in 1982, by establishing a professional development endowment in his name. This endowment provides for the educational needs of faculty in the College’s Engineering and Industrial Technology Division. Blue Ridge led the fundraising effort for the A. J. (Jud) Hurt Teaching Chair endowment, which now boasts more than $42,000 in gifts, approximately half of which came from the cooperative itself.

In 2004, Blue Ridge continued its support by pledging $25,000 to establish the Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative Technology Endowment. This endowment was fully funded in 2007, and it currently generates revenue used by the College to support its technological needs.

Blue Ridge Electric’s largest gift to date came in the form of a $100,000 pledge made in 2010 to name the two Engineering and Industrial Technology labs at the College’s Easley campus. The revenue from this endowment will help to underwrite the future needs of that campus as it supports the residents of Pickens County.

In addition, Blue Ridge Electric has been a faithful supporter of College and Foundation special events, including the Fall Classic Golf Tournament, the Spring Open Golf Tournament and Bluegrass Under the Stars. The cooperative has also supported the naming of the Henry C. Harrison Criminal Justice Technology Program.

Blue Ridge Electric has given more than $166,000 to the Foundation over the past 26 years, earning the cooperative recognition on the College’s Benefactors of Honor Wall.

Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative was established on August 14, 1940, starting its operations with 1,680 members inherited from the South Carolina Rural Electrification Authority. Today, Blue Ridge serves more than 63,000 members in Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties, with a small number located in Spartanburg County.