During our years on this earth, we get to meet a lot of people. Of these people, you get to know a few well and then there is a handful who have a powerful impact on your life. Last fall, I, along with our co-op family, lost one of those friends with the passing of Charles R. (Dick) Burrell.
Burrell first joined YEC’s board of directors in 1998. He was elected chairman in May 2011 and remained in that office until his death. He was a great leader and truly loved YEC and every employee. He timelessly looked after our membership whether in the board room, on the phone with a member or representing YEC across the state. Burrell also served on The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina’s board and was vice-chairman of the executive committee. He represented us extremely well with a reputation of integrity, selflessness, thoroughness and genuine caring for what was best for everyone. “Dick was one of a small handful of people whom I have had the privilege to meet as a child and work within my current role at your statewide,” said Mike Couick, President and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “His values were timeless, and his leadership of your cooperative reflected those values. Chief among his skills and one he actively sought was to just be a good listener.”
A heart of service
Burrell always had a heart for service. He served in the United States Army and then the Clover Community at Boyd’s Tire and Appliance as the co-owner and general manager. To me, the greatest area of service he exemplified was his love for his family and his God. He was an elder at the Clover ARP Church where he visited families faithfully no matter how far or how often he had to drive his white Chevy pickup truck. Most profoundly, Burrell inspired me to be a godly father and husband. We would talk often about his love for his family and how proud he was of his four children and 10 grandchildren. His wife, Jane Barrett Burrell, after 57 years of marriage, was still the love of his life. He adored his wife and expressed how he enjoyed sitting in the swing out back with her where they would “just talk.” It was obvious by his actions that he loved her more than life itself. Burrell would often encourage me to make sure I had a good balance between my work and family life. By doing so, I knew how much he cared for me, and I’ll always treasure his friendship.
Burrell was a gentleman in every regard, respected and loved by all of us here at YEC. Dick Burrell will be missed by many, none more than his family, but I think I will come in a close second.
President and Chief Executive Officer