Retired area managers in the Canton office Bill Wester and Robert Logan are just two of them.
Rod Drake, currently our area manager, meets those standards, too. Earlier this week, Canton Rotary Club honored him with their annual Lee Arrendale Award for Vocational Excellence.
Rod grew up in Waynesboro, a small town in middle Georgia. After graduating from the local high school, he was off to the University of Georgia for a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering.
His career with Georgia Power began in 1974 as a junior engineer at Plant Vogtle. Going up the career ladder, he was based in Thomson, Waynesboro, Augusta and Newnan before he assumed the leadership of the Canton area.
Wherever he has been located, Rod Drake has been exactly what his employers expected — an outstanding citizen. I do not mean he pays his taxes, stops at red traffic lights and goes when called for jury duty. He goes far beyond that doing multiple things to improve the lives of others.
Comedian George Carlan said electricity is just organized lightning. That might be used to describe Rod. He must be tremendously organized and move something like the speed of lightning to accomplish all the things he does.
Wherever he has been, he has made his mark. Just here in Cherokee, he has served on so many boards and commissions it makes most of us tired just reading about them. Citing just a few examples, he has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club, the DUI/DRUG Treatment Foundation Board, the YMCA Board and leader of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce.
Although he has been recognized with awards for his accomplishments, he keeps both feet on the ground. He is humble.
We know how cream rises to the top of milk. Rod is like that. Within any group he rises to the top and leads the organization.
It is easy for me to imagine Rod as one of those cartoon characters with a bubble above his head with a brightly shining light bulb in it. After all, he is filled with bright ideas about what needs to be done and how to do it.
But he does not stop there. Another of the reasons for his success is that he is not afraid of getting his hands dirty. Like most successful people, work does not always mean sitting behind a desk in an office.
You might see Rod helping with the building of a Habitat for Humanity House, ringing a bell at the local Wal-Mart during the Christmas season for the Salvation Army or raising money for scholarships for college students.
At the same time, Rod does have his personal life. He and his wife, Becky, have been married for 42 years and have two children and five grandchildren. They attend Woodstock First Baptist Church.
Rod loves being outdoors and is involved in water sports, archery, hunting and shooting.
Our forefathers did not require electricity. Candles were good enough. Many went to bed when the sun went down and got up when it came up. Ours is such a different world.
Thankfully, there were those with natural curiosity and not afraid of being laughed at by their neighbors who paved the way for electricity as we have it today.
Most of us have seen pictures of Benjamin Franklin flying a kite during an electrical storm when he was trying to understand lightning.
The neighbors probably thought he was a little “touched in the head” and expected him to be lightning struck at any minute.
Then there was Thomas Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park, who invented the light bulb. What a change that made in our lives!
Now I am not going to claim that Rod Drake will be in history books like Franklin and Edison. But you and I find him in one of the most important books in our lives — the telephone book.
When the lights go out, we quickly find the number to call.
We know our telephone call will be answered.
As his nature, when Rod accepted his prestigious award from Canton Rotary Club he was quick to express appreciation to those who work with him, especially during the worst times of the year. Even during frigid temperatures and single-digit wind chill factors like we are having now, they are ready around the clock to go where they are needed.
The Rotary Club motto is “Service Above Self.” Rod Drake lives that motto and under his leadership those who work with him live it, too.
Marguerite Cline is former mayor of Waleska.