Central Texas men help bring electricity to Bolivian villages

Posted at 4:55 PM, Nov 30, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:20:03-04

Two Bartlett Electric Cooperative employees spent two weeks this month helping bring electricity to three villages in Bolivia.

Chris Allen and Kirby Dawson are linemen for Bartlett Electric Cooperative who volunteered in Bolivia earlier this month.

"We're all called to serve at some level. We're all given talents to do something, and we're all given opportunities every day whether that be in Bolivia or Bartlett," Chris Allen said. 

Allen and Dawson were part of a group of seventeen linemen from six co-ops across Texas who built five miles of line to carry electricity to three Bolivian villages.

"The actual poles were hand cut and handmade from right out of the jungle by the individuals themselves of the villages and so they weren't anywhere near the size that we have here, some were as small as a fence post up top," Allen added. 

But despite the challenges, Allen, Dawson and the other men helped 125 families, a school and clinic get power for the first time. 

"It just makes you not take for granted for what you have, you know. The kids out there, I know my kids they love playing on cell phones... it's what they do for fun. The Bolivian kids, they're out playing outside soccer or whatever," Kirby Dawson said. 

On the last night, the crew flipped the electricity on and watched with the Bolivians as their villages lit up for the first time.

"It was like, dog-gone, we did that," Allen said. 

Allen and Kirby both added they would jump at the chance to help another country in need in the future. 

"I'm extremely proud of Chris and Kirby, and I consider our co-op very fortunate to have men like that working for us. They exemplify servant leadership, and that's exactly what they were doing in Bolivia," Bryan Lightfoot, CEO of Bartlett Electric Cooperative, said. 

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