Willie Wiredhand vintage sign
Speech by Director Member Services Jeff Wahlquist at 2019 Annual Meeting:
This sign you see here was originally part of the new building in Baldwin built in 1953. It carries the NRECA mascot Willie Wiredhand you will notice it is trademarked by NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperative Association).
It was placed on the south side of the building at the customer entrance and stayed there until the early 1990’s when a remodeling project took place. During the remodeling it was removed and disappeared.
This past January (2019) a call was received at the co-op office asking if we were interested in an old St. Croix Electric sign. We were a bit skeptical but Michele DeLong (Communications & Events Coordinator) and I made the short drive to Telford Norvold’s home to look at the sign. Many of you who have been around for a while may remember that name: Telford was Member Services Manager here at SCEC during the time of the remodel. He later moved on to Pierce-Pepin Cooperative and retired from there.
Needless to say we were more than a little surprised when we saw the sign - it was in very good shape as it hung there in Telford’s shop, everything on it worked. During the remodel the sign had been thrown into a dumpster. Telford saw it and decided to rescue it. There was some minor work he did such as replacing bulbs and repairing wiring, but it has hung in his shop since. Michele and I knew we had to have it here at SCEC. Telford told us he would rather SCEC had it than it get sold to a collector.
Clint Crowley helped remove and haul the sign to Jerry VanSomeren’s shop - Jerry is another connection to SCEC. He retired in 2016 as Member Services Manager after 25 years. While Jerry had it he repainted, built a mobile stand and rewired the sign.
A big thank you first of all to Telford Norvold for seeing the value in the sign and his generosity to St Croix Electric Co-op in donating it back. Then to Jerry VanSomeren for the work he did refurbishing it.