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Veterans Day the Co-op Way

This month Americans will recognize the service of the nation’s more than 18.5 million military veterans. Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is especially important here in Georgia, which boasts the fifth largest military population in the country, including almost 700,000 former service members and over 101,000 military retirees. Many of them live along Walton EMC’s power lines, and some are employed by the co-op.

An annual luncheon is held to honor Walton EMC employees and Board members who are veterans. John Hamm, supervisor of facilities and maintenance, always looks forward to attending.

Honoring the veterans of Walton EMC who served our nation. We salute your service and sacrifice.


“I’m usually the youngest veteran in the group,” said Hamm, who served in Afghanistan as a member of the Georgia National Guard. “It’s always interesting to hear the stories from each generation of veterans.”

Hamm’s commitment to the armed forces began in college. He joined the ROTC while attending the state’s senior military college, now called University of North Georgia. Meanwhile, he was working weekends at Walton EMC.

He spent nearly a year in Afghanistan, leading a platoon tasked with training local police officers. The experience taught him the importance of selfreliance, a skill he’s used as a fulltime Walton EMC employee for 13 years.

“I do what I say I’m going to do, and I don’t send anybody to do a job I wouldn’t do myself,” he said, summing up the mindset he’s brought to work for 13 years as a fulltime co-op employee.

He supervises nine Walton EMC employees who maintain 13 buildings, three solar array fields and other facilities owned by the co-op. They are responsible for all aspects of facility upkeep and repairs.

Hamm will take a brief break from his duties to enjoy a meal with fellow veterans. Seated at the table will be guardsmen, soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines. Some saw combat in Vietnam and during Operation Desert Storm. Others served their country in military support and peacekeeping roles. Whenever the service and whatever the uniform, Hamm is proud to be among them.