Central Electric honored one of its former directors with a ceremony at the cooperative’s Johnsonville substation on July 12. The co-op unveiled a plaque in recognition of the 35-plus years of service made by the late Johnnie Chalmers during his time on the Central Electric Board of Directors.
Chalmers was elected to the board in 1973, representing District 3 in Harnett County until he retired in April 2009 as vice president of the board. When he was elected, he was one of the first African-Americans in the state to serve on a cooperative board.
During his service to the co-op, Chalmers had a direct hand in electrifying central North Carolina. When he was young, nine out of 10 rural homes in the countryside were without electricity. He was able to experience and contribute firsthand to the electrification of rural Harnett County. By the time Chalmers retired from the co-op’s board, electricity was no longer a privilege to those just living inside the city limits, but a given for any member of the community.
“Today one of our slogans is keeping electricity safe, reliable and affordable; however, Johnnie had a hand in making electricity safe, reliable and available,” Central Electric General Manager Morris McClelion said during the ceremony.
Chalmers also served in the U.S. military for 33 years. Before his retirement from Pope Air Force Base in 1981, he fought and was wounded in battle in France during World War II.
“Johnnie Chalmers had an influence in the decision-making that got the cooperative where it is today,” McClelion said. “He devotedly served our cooperative and country for many years, and his legacy continues to live on today.”