Barry Electric Cooperative has been blessed for many years to employ some of the best people in Barry County and on May 1st the Co-op celebrated the end of a 39-year career of one of it’s finest. Don Newman hung up his climbing spikes and will enter into retirement with his cooperative family there to wish him the best. There will be no replacing Don’s friendly smile and his willingness to help.
It did not matter if you were a co-worker, a member, a friend, or a stranger, Don has always been there with a smile, a helping hand and many words of encouragement.
In 1980 Don left his job as parts manager for the local Chevrolet dealer, and came to work for then manager Joe Preddy, at Barry Electric Cooperative. He quickly advanced to a lineman position and then on to become a lead lineman.
Through the major Snowstorms of 1984 and 1987, the 2007 Ice Storm and all the other Storms in between, Don has been there working hard to restore power and encouraging his fellow workers. It did not matter how long the guys had been out working, Don was always willing to go to just one more outage.
No matter what the problem was, Don has always had the ability to find something on the truck to make the repair and get the customer’s lights back on. It was never too hot, too cold, or too wet, Don and his crew worked until the power was back on.
Don has not only repaired line and fixed trouble, he and his crew have built many miles of high quality power line that will stand for many years to come.
Don has always quick to help or share his knowledge with other employees. When Don, the began his career; the original Barry Electric linemen were starting to retire. Don had learned the old school ways from them and passed some (just the good parts) of this knowledge on to younger employees. Thanks to Don we know how to set “Raspers” on a house, how to “Hoop” dirt up around a pole, and how not to “Smoke Test” something. Also thanks to Don, we learned about ‘Capassataters”, “that Circle Mill wire” and about how ‘Ole Pappy fixed things”.
While Don is proud of his accomplishments on the job, he is even more proud of his wife Linda, sons Rusty and Ryan and now grandsons Dylan and Reece. His devotion to God and Family is one of the many things we admire about him. He has always been willing to share his faith and testimony with others. He has spent many hours visiting, encouraging, sharing the gospel, and ministering at local nursing facilities and with people convalescing in their own homes.
Don and Linda enjoy Cruises and travel and plan to do more in the near future. Don also enjoys spending time with family, hunting, fishing and is looking forward to doing more of just that. Whatever the situation, you can bet Don won’t be just setting around, he will be busy doing something!
It has been a real privilege to work with Don, we have all learned from his work ethic and his knowledge, and he will be missed at Barry Electric. He has set a high standard that we all admire, both at work and in our personal lives. Thank you Don Newman and enjoy your well-deserved retirement!