If people wanted electricity, they had to sign a membership application and pay $5. Nobody had power out in the country. We went out and signed people up. Ruby Fast
Ruby Fast, a lifelong resident of Hooker, fondly recalls her time working at TCEC. She began her career at Tri-County Electric Cooperative in 1954, before the cooperative was even in business for a decade. Ruby was the co-op’s first female employee. Then General Manager Sid Hussey offered her a job, and she gladly accepted. At the time, the cooperative consisted of about 15 employees. A lot changed in her 40-year career at the cooperative.
During her time at TCEC, Ruby served in many roles within the cooperative. She recalls one of her first responsibilities was driving out in the country to ask people if they wanted electricity.
“If people wanted electricity, they had to sign a membership application and pay $5,” Ruby said. “Nobody had power out in the country. We went out and signed people up.”
When Ruby wasn’t out asking people if they wanted electricity, she worked in the office. She took payments, answered phone calls, and helped keep inventory in the warehouse. Ruby also coordinated work orders as needed for the linemen.
“We only had one car, and we had to drive to different towns like Adams and Hardesty to read meters,” she said. “It would take all day, and we would have to walk from house to house. The days were long and exhausting.”
In the 1980s, TCEC got its first computers. Ruby recalls having training meetings to learn how to operate the computers and the new billing system. After the training meetings concluded, she moved to the billing department.
Ruby had the honor of working for four of the six general managers of TCEC, including:
- Sid Hussey, 1950-1957
- Jeff Montgomery, 1957-1975
- John E. Norman, 1975-1986
- Jack Perkins, 1986-2017
When asked who her favorite general manager was, she said she enjoyed working for all of them. She kindly stated each of them did their best for the cooperative.
Ruby retired in 1994. She is featured in TCEC’s 75th Anniversary Commemorative Cookbook published in 2020. The historical photo shown here was taken of her in 1961. The more recent photo is Ruby today with the new cookbook.