It’s a unique feature of electric cooperatives for generations of family members to be woven into its history. From linemen and engineers to office personnel and board members, there are family trees that have Noble REMC in its roots.
That’s the case for Meter Supervisor Dan Cochard, a 33-year veteran of the co-op. Cochard discovered his REMC roots 20 years ago when working to complete a history project on the co-op for a leadership training course. During his research, he found the minutes from Noble REMC’s first board meeting in September 1935 and saw a familiar name on its first board of directors.
“I remember sitting right beside Sarah (Dreibelbis) going ‘Mort Wible?! That’s my great-grandfather!’” Cochard said. “I didn’t know until I worked here that he was on the board of directors.”
Cochard’s great-grandfather was Morton Wible, one of the 12 original board members of Noble REMC — then known as Noble County REMC. A fourth-generation farmer, school teacher and township trustee, he served from 1936 to 1944, representing Wayne Township.
Cochard’s great-grandfather was instrumental in creating the foundation for the cooperative, including:
- Oct. 13, 1936: The articles of incorporation were signed and our bylaws were adopted. With the Noble County Rural Electric Membership Cooperative an official entity, the membership drive was underway.
- Feb. 15, 1937: The first Noble County REMC Annual Meeting held.
- April 12, 1937: The REMC Board approved applying for a loan from the Rural Electrification Administration. It was a 20-year mortgage for $75,000 at 2.77% interest, which was used to construct the first 65.7 miles of line and serve 255 members.
- Oct. 11, 1937: Indiana Statewide REMC was contracted to provide power to Noble County REMC. The fee established to conduct wiring inspections was $1.
- Oct. 4, 1939: The first line truck was purchased. It was a 1932 Ford B 1.5-ton truck with a derrick, power take-off, and 250 feet of cable, jacks, tarpaulin, spare tire and chains. The cost? $445.
Now, 85 years after his initial work, Cochard is carrying on his legacy of bringing electricity to our members.
Though he doesn’t remember much about his “great-granddaddy” — he was 5 when Wible passed — he remembers him as the man who taught him “how much wood could a woodchuck chuck” as a child, and now, as the man who made his career personal.