Two electric linemen from South River EMC were recognized for their efforts to extend electric service in Bolivia with the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Tim Williams and Derek Avery, along with 12 other linemen from six of North Carolina’s electric cooperative traveled to Laphia, Bolivia to build electric infrastructure to bring electricity to a remote village in 2019. The Brighter World Initiative was spearheaded by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International Program.
The award was presented to Williams and Avery by South River EMC Executive Vice President and CEO Chris M. Spears. During the presentation Spears said the following:
“You volunteered to go to Bolivia, but I know it was still a sacrifice,” said Spears. “You worked hard and succeeded in making a major difference in the lives of those precious children and their families. I suspect that 40 years from now, they will still be talking about the time when you brought to them the blessing of electricity.
“I saw the Brighter World Initiative as a mission trip where the love of Jesus Christ could be shared and I believe you did as well. I am very pleased and honored to present you both with the President’s Volunteer Service Award.”
The President’s Volunteer Service Award was established in 2003 to recognize the importance of volunteers and their efforts. The award honors people who positively impact communities across the globe.
The award was accompanied by a letter from President Donald Trump, which stated, in part:
On behalf of a grateful Nation, I thank you for your service to your fellow Americans and those most in need. Through your dedicated service, you have ensured the continuation of America’s unparalleled commitment to improving the lives of others.
Over this past year, you have served as a model of the American Spirit…One of our Nation’s greatest strengths remains the compassion of our everyday citizens, who give so willingly of themselves and their lives for the benefit of others…
Avery and Williams returned to Bolivia in February 2020 for over two weeks to help restore electric service to areas around La Chiquitania impacted by fires in the Amazon rainforest.