Laurie, Mo. (Oct. 6, 2014) — A recent Co-Mo Electric retiree received statewide recognition for his service to the members of the cooperative.
Kim James, who retired from Co-Mo in June, was honored Oct. 3 with the A.C. Burrows Award by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives at its annual meeting in St. Louis.
The purpose of the award is to recognize directors and employees of electric cooperatives for outstanding service to their cooperative, community and service areas. Recipients are selected because of their leadership above and beyond the call of duty to strengthen and improve the economic and social conditions in their areas.
James started as an apprentice lineman on May 28, 1985. From the start, he worked hard building power lines and taking on new responsibilities as they came along. In doing so, he earned the respect of the members, his colleagues and the management of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative.
He had a passion for working the rough terrain in the co-op’s Lake District.
“When Kim worked to restore power, those people he was working for weren’t just members to him. They were considered family,” said Ken Johnson, the cooperative’s CEO and general manager.
In 2009, James became Co-Mo’s Lake District assistant manager, where he focused on safety and technology.
“He has been an outstanding mentor to new linemen and exemplified knowing the difference between ‘I’ve always done it that way’ and ‘I’m lucky because I’ve always done it that way and didn’t get hurt,’” said Corey ten Bensel, the cooperative’s Director of Lake Operations.
James helped foster integrity in the cooperative and the community, ten Bensel added.
“If he learned of a member who was really struggling, he on more than one occasion paid their bill out of his own pocket, and he spent hours outside of work volunteering for countless fundraisers and charities,” ten Bensel said.
The award is named for the late Audrian Cleon Burrows of Van Buren, Mo., who rose through the ranks to become general manager of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, which is the statewide service organization for Missouri’s 48 electric cooperatives. Burrows served in this position from 1968 to 1976. He was recognized as an outstanding leader in rural electrification and as ad istinguished individual who dedicated his life to helping others.