Lineman Darvene Montford Marks 50 Years of Service
When Line Crew Leader Darvene Montford started working for Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op (CCEC), there were no bucket trucks. When underground service became available, the lines were dug in by hand, and if there was a problem with the line, it was dug up, shovelful by shovelful, until the source of the problem was found.
Montford was recognized recently for his 50 years of service to the cooperative and its members. He is only the second employee to reach that pinnacle. His photo and anniversary plaque will join those of Jerry Troyer on the wall in the engineering and operations foyer at CCEC’s office in Newport.
He started working at CCEC just six months after graduating from West Carteret High School and has been here ever since.
“I had a job putting down tile for about six months, but that was it,” Montford said.
When he first came to the cooperative, Darvene was on the right-of-way crew. At that time, there was only one line crew. After eight years, he moved to the new underground crew.
“We were climbing poles,” he said. “We had no bucket, no backhoe and only one Ditch Witch. We did most of the work by hand.”
Today, the crews perform both underground and overhead line work, and the right-of-way maintenance is done by contractor crews.
Montford became a line crew leader in 1988.
“I really enjoy the people I work around and helping the younger ones learn,” Montford said. “It’s a pretty good group of guys.”
Is retirement in his future? If so, he isn’t saying.
Montford was born and raised in the Bogue community, and still lives there today with his wife Barbara. Their children, Darvene Jr. and Ann, and their children live nearby as well. He attended W.S. King School in Morehead City through 1964, but finished high school at West Carteret when the county’s black schools and white schools were integrated the following year.
When he’s not running his crew, Darvene and his wife play bingo, a pastime they enjoy about three times a week.