A Cooperative Christmas Tradition
Kaye Morris has many Christmas traditions. None of them, however, are as unique as her long-standing holiday tradition here at Jackson EMC. Since 2007, Kaye has collected Willie Wiredhand ornaments that appear each year as she decorates her office at Jackson EMC.
Willie Wiredhand is an iconic character that has been around since 1950. Many electric co-ops have embraced Willie Wiredhand’s whimsical appeal over the years for various marketing purposes. Willie Wiredhand makes an appearance at Jackson EMC’s Annual Meeting.
Twelve years ago, Kaye – who is an administrative assistant for finance and accounting – saw an article promoting the NRECA Willie ornaments and was immediately drawn to purchase one for herself. She already collected handmade ornaments for a Christmas tree at home, but said she loved the idea of having an EMC-themed tree for the office.
She recalls that her first tree looked a little like Charlie Brown’s with empty branches and one, red Willie Wiredhand figurine hanging alone. Even then, it was an instant hit among employees in the office.
“Everyone loved it,” Kaye said. “I knew I had to keep putting the Willie tree up.” And since that first year, her collection has continued to grow.
“I love the uniqueness of each figurine,” Kaye said. Her assortment of ornaments, including the new 2019 Willie figurine, who is dressed like Santa, shows him portraying a variety of roles. He’s been a lineman, a train conductor and, Kaye’s favorite, a baker. Each ornament is a merry reminder of the diverse population of members Jackson EMC serves.
In the future, Kaye wants to make her Jackson EMC holiday display more elaborate. She adds, “I would love to have a model power pole made to hang the Willie Wiredhand ornaments on as a tribute to our linemen.”
After 16 years at Jackson EMC, Kaye remains passionate about the co-op she serves and the tradition she’s created. She says, “I encourage all of my co-workers to buy their own Willie Wiredhand ornaments. They’re unique, fun, and remind me of how wonderful it is to work at Jackson EMC.”
Willie Wiredhand Christmas figurines can be purchased from NRECA’s online store.