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Clifton Retires After 50 Years of Service

Clifton Retires After 50 Years of Service

In 1964, gasoline was 30 cents a gallon, the average price for a new home was $13,000 and Tommy Gene Clifton had just hired on at Sam Houston Electric Cooperative.

Clifton retired in late August after 50 years of service to the members of Sam Houston EC. He began his career when the Cooperative had only 15,000 meters—in 2014, the Co-op tipped the scales at more than 70,000.

“There were no bucket trucks,” Tommy Gene Clifton said of his early years at Sam Houston EC. “Holes were dug by hand, and right-of-way was cleared by hand.”

The Cooperative was founded in 1939, and Clifton has seen more growth, change and challenges in his tenure than any other employee. That includes his fair share of hurricanes. After Hurricane Ike devastated the Co-op’s service territory in 2008, Clifton left the scene of tree that had fallen through the center of his own home and returned to work—restoring power to our members’ homes first.

“For the 50 years he has been here, Tommy Gene has been an example of professionalism and service,” said Kyle J. Kuntz, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative CEO. “He exemplifies the Cooperative spirit.”

Clifton retired from the position of right-of-way foreman, although he held many other positions in his 50 years of service. The Cooperative’s report room was packed Aug. 29, 2014, with friends, family and Co-op employees who all came to celebrate Clifton’s five decades of distinguished service and to wish him well.

“Tommy Gene will be missed by not only our members, but also his fellow employees,” Kuntz said. “We wish him a happy and well-deserved retirement.”