Joining crews to help bring electricity to Bolivian village
Last week, six Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) employees traveled to rural Bolivia with twelve other linemen from Virginia and Maryland. The crew will be there for three weeks working to bring electricity to five communities for the first time.
The initiative is entitled “United We Light: Project Bolivia” and is sponsored by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) in conjunction with National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International and support from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp.
The line workers will be divided into two teams for an estimated 12 days of work on 11 miles of power line. Their work includes: constructing primary and secondary lines; string, sag and tie in conductors on the structures; hang transformers and make connections; and provide hands-on training to local utility workers. In all, 52 households will be powered.
“The main reason we’re going is to electrify villages and it’s going to change those people’s lives forever. And it will forever change the lives of the guys who are going,” said John Medved, director of safety and compliance at REC and team leader for the project. Medved has previously traveled to Haiti on a NRECA International mission.
The REC team is made up of
- Patrick Ambrose, line foreman in Bowling Green
- Cody Lockhart, first class lineman in Blue Ridge
- John Medved, director of safety and compliance
- Jake Michael, lead lineman in Blue Ridge
- Dillion Sheads, first class lineman in Culpeper
- Ryan White, digital media specialist
The trip is the first time the VMDAEC has sponsored an overseas electrification project with NRECA International, which has been providing power to unserved areas globally since 1962.
To keep track of the Project Bolivia efforts, follow “United We Light: Project Bolivia” on Facebook at facebook.com/group/unitedwelight.
REC provides electric service to over 170,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the Cooperative operates and maintains more than 17,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about REC, please visit www.myrec.coop. Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.