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Sunday, May 1, 2016

NAEC dedicates memorial

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photo by Jody Shackelford
A new addition to the Salem landscape was added recently at North Arkansas Electric Cooperative's headquarters. The NAEC Memorial is a slightly larger than life-sized statue of a lineman at work. The memorial is dedicated to the eight linemen who have lost their lives in the service of NAEC. The most recent loss of life, an explosion at a North Arkansas Electric Cooperative sub-station in Mountain Home Aug. 31, 2004, prompted the monument.

Desi Jones and Ivey Hodge both of Mountain Home, died after receiving severe burns and other injuries they sustained in the blast. The explosion occurred while they were removing a regulator in the Baxter substation on Highway 201 North.

Jessie Zimmer, also critically injured in the blast, was taken to St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, Mo., but later died from his injuries.

Chris Hickman, was seriously injured in the blast while assisting Jones and Hodge but recovered and is still with NAEC.

The NAEC memorial was built in their honor.

Six to eight months after the accident, NAEC formed a team of employees to begin the memorial process.

"We had to determine what kind of memorial we wanted; if we wanted something in our district offices as well as in our headquarters in Salem," said Leah Rouse with NAEC.

The team contacted sculptor Ron Moore of Mountain Home to construct the memorial, which he did from NAEC photographs.

The lineman on his power pole isn't the only aspect of the memorial, Rouse said. "We decided to do a plaque for each one of the eight gentleman that we had lost. We contacted the family and they in turn gave us input on what they wanted on the plaques. They feature a picture of each one of the men and it lists their dates of service with the cooperative. There is also a lineman's prayer on the front of the statue," Rouse said.

Family and friends of the men who lost their lives were in attendance at NAEC in Salem, May 18, where a service was held to dedicate the memorial.

Once completed, there will be a smaller version of each one of the plaques and a three-foot memorial statue identical to the one in Salem, at each of the district offices in Ash Flat and Mountain Home.

"It is a one-of-a-kind statue," Rouse said.

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