Who are you?
I’m Laura Thornton, Community Relations Coordinator for Pea River Electric Cooperative in Ozark, Alabama. I also live in Ozark with my husband, John, and our five dogs and one cat. We have a blended family that includes eight kids, their spouses or significant others and 12 grandkids. So that’s a total of 30 around the Thanksgiving table. The grandchildren range in age from three-months-old to 14. All of them live in South Alabama or Northwest Florida, and all are within an hour’s drive of where we are. We have been blessed with a very full and busy life.
Describe your history and job with Pea River Electric Cooperative.
I’ve been with them for 29 years. (I’m old.) I handle all aspects of communications and public relations for the cooperative including editing and writing for our member publication, Alabama Living magazine. I manage our website, social media, etc. I also handle all advertising, sponsorships, community events and activities, annual meeting planning, and serve as a community volunteer with numerous local organizations and schools.
Why did you join CCA and when?
I joined at the urging of CCA friends Chellie Phillips and Terri Faulkner, in around 2004. I attended my first CCA Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, and have been hooked on CCA ever since.
Did anything surprise you about CCA?
I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the organization was from the very beginning – how easy it was to get to know the members of CCA. I loved the warmth, openness, and camaraderie of the members.
What’s been your favorite thing about CCA so far?
I think the people are what makes CCA what it is. I never cease to be amazed at the level of talent that’s represented and everyone’s willingness to help each other and share ideas. I love the atmosphere of teamwork whether it’s planning an Institute or a regional workshop. I love the friendships it’s allowed me to make with fellow co-op folks from across the country.
What’s your favorite thing about working with cooperatives?
I actually met my husband John through my work with cooperatives so I would have to say that’s my favorite thing! But on a more serious note, I love the principles that co-ops were founded on and the fact that we continue to live out those principles on a daily basis as we do business. I also love that working for a co-op and with other types of co-ops is like working with a family that shares the same principles and values.
What are your hobbies and interests?
Spending time with the newest grandchildren is my main hobby these days, but I also love to play golf, bike, kayak, and go to the beach.
Do you have a “bucket list”? What are some of the things you’ve listed?
There are some places I would like to visit that I haven’t had the opportunity to – New York City, Key West, and all of the National Parks are examples. I marked off one “bucket list” item when I hiked the Grand Canyon a few years and a lot of pounds ago. (Thanks to fellow CCA’er Teri Hall Ditsch for letting me tag along.)
Give us something about yourself that is surprising or that most people don’t know.
I’m learning to play the ukulele just for fun, and I dream of writing a children’s book series someday.