Attendance Surges at your 79th MEC Annual Meeting
Rate decrease, prizes and food greet an enthusiastic crowd of more that 1,100
Shortly before noon Saturday, April 13, extra folding chairs were handed to dozens of Marlboro Electric Cooperative members as they streamed into the truck garage at the new office complex on Highway 9 East to await the start of the 2019 annual meeting.
Dressed in everything from slacks, blue jeans or shorts, T-shirts, collared golf shirts and sports coats with ties, the diverse membership far exceeded the threshold for a quorum as 1,145 members registered. That is more than 300 above last year's attendance.
Local variety band A New Creation entertained the crowd before the official program began and was followed by Doc Dixon's Magic & Comedy Show. The illusionist invited audience participation with his sleight-of-hand tricks.
To open the meeting, Pastor Elder Frederick Canty of the New Hill Original Free Will Baptist Church delivered the invocation. Shortly thereafter, a patriotic video showing MEC linemen raising an American Flag appealed to the devoted members in the crowd. One by one, the six linemen climbed a pole and positioned themselves one below the other. A seventh lineman approached the pole carrying a U.S. flag, which was passed from hand to hand up the pole to a holder fastened at the top. All of this was done to the background music of Lee Greenwood's, "God Bless the U.S.A." It received an overwhelming standing ovation by a teary-eyed crowd.
A positive tone was set early on as MEC Board of Trustees Chairman Sam P. "Bo" McInnis Jr. explained to members that the new MEC headquarters office and operations facility in which they sat was not paid for by members. Instead, the Marlboro Development Team-MEC's for-profit subsidiary-covered the entire cost of construction.
A second piece of good news for members was previewed by McInnis when he told the audience MEC has the lowest residential power rates in the state. Shortly thereafter, MEC President and CEO William Fleming announced rates will be cut for the sixth time by 8% adding to an already unprecedented combined rate decrease in the past five years of 31 percent.
"I'm excited to share that the board wants to lower rates again, giving members another 8% decrease over the hot summer months from May through August," Fleming said to energetic applause from the audience.
Oh, The Prizes!
With the business portion of the program completed, Fleming kicked off the raffles and prize drawings by awarding the first prize, a Polaris Ranger two-seater to Cheryl M. Stuckey of Bennettsville. Stuckey was given the option of the vehicle or $7,000 cash.
MDT Senior Vice President Brian Nash conducted the remaining drawings. Members went home with prizes that included a Craftsman riding lawnmower, a two-person Sportsman Field & Stream johnboat, a Rachel Ray 12-Piece cooking set, an oversized Igloo, a 50-inch UHD LG television and a couple of Black & Decker cordless yard tools.
The grand prize-was the last item to be awarded. This year's winner was Terry Bullard of Dillon. Ms. Bullard has the choice of the vehicle or $8,000. She chose the Polaris.