CREWE – Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) employee Kevin Delaney has been named one of Virginia’s 2013 Hometown Heroes by the law firm of Allen & Allen. Delaney, of Jetersville, was honored alongside his family on Wednesday at a special event held during the Innsbrook After Hours concert series in Glen Allen.
Given annually by the Richmond-based law firm, the award recognizes a select few Virginians who are, "local heroes responsible for community initiatives and acts of kindness." Out of hundreds of nominations from the Richmond, Fredericksburg, Petersburg and Charlottesville areas, 50 award-winners were chosen and have been recognized at several public events throughout the summer.
As a full-time employee at SEC for the past three years, Delaney’s position as Senior Control Room Operator allows him to play a key role, dispatching co-op line crews to help restore power to SEC members after an outage. He is also heavily involved in his community, serving Amelia County and the surrounding area in a number of different capacities. As a dedicated husband, father of four, and a part-time business owner, Delaney keeps a busy schedule. And yet he manages to do it all while fighting a daily battle with muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease he has had for over half his life.
Coming from humble beginnings in rural Amelia County, Delaney faced many socioeconomic challenges early on. Then, at age 18 he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and given five years to live by doctors. Despite these obstacles, and because of lessons learned from them, he has succeeded in more ways than one. He says his condition has given him a different perspective on life, and his positive outlook and humble attitude are evidence of this.
"Everyone has to deal with life’s varying, and often difficult, circumstances," Delaney notes. But he says the choices we make ultimately determine where we end up. "Just look at me — I could be pretty bitter about what’s happened, but I’m thankful for what I have, and with God’s help and my loving family I’m able to lead a fruitful and joy-filled life."
As a dispatcher in the SEC Operations Center, he works in what could best be described as the electric co-op’s "air traffic-control tower." He communicates with members who have lost electric service, usually as the result of a storm, while guiding multiple line crews to the trouble spots along the SEC electrical grid, enabling members to get their power restored quickly and safely.
"We are lucky to have Kevin, both here at SEC and in Amelia. His story is quite inspiring, and his dedication and optimism are contagious around the office. I’m proud to claim him as an SEC employee – his service to the community and humble attitude are truly an example to us all," notes Jeff Edwards, SEC’s president & CEO.
When he’s not working at SEC, Delaney finds time to volunteer with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) of Richmond, furthering their "Make a Muscle" fundraising and awareness campaign. He loves being an advocate for disabled people, and enjoys correcting perceptions about those with disabilities. "People sometimes think that just because you have a physical disability, it also means you have low intelligence. That’s an incorrect assumption, and I’m proof that this isn’t the case," he adds.
He’s also a juvenile probation officer, working with moderate- to high-risk youth in the Amelia area. The challenge, and reward, of changing lives is something he relishes. That’s also why he’s served as a member of the school board for Amelia County Public Schools since 2011. He enjoys being the voice for the people of School District 3, and likes the challenge of making policy decisions and helping to manage the budget.
And yet Delaney’s work ethic and his desire to give back to his community do not stop there. He’s been a member of the Amelia County Volunteer Fire Department for the past seven years as an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Provider, and a volunteer EMT with the Amelia Emergency Squad, Inc., for eight years. As if he didn’t have enough to keep him busy, he’s also the part owner of a CPR training and equipment company, DC Instructors, which he founded with a friend.
Education has also been very important to Delaney. He attended school at night while working a full-time job, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Strayer University in 2000, and an associate’s degree in legal assisting from the Bryant & Stratton College in 1999.
With his busy schedule, life for Delaney is almost never-ceasing, but he likes it that way. The SEC dispatcher also readily admits that his family is the glue that holds it all together. "They help me every single day." And he is not just speaking about figurative or emotional support from his family. In fact, he relies on their help for even some of the most basic daily tasks because of his muscular dystrophy. As his condition evolves, he must adapt and continue to figure out ways to work through and around the challenges it presents, and his family helps him every step of the way. For Delaney, this is simply a metaphor for life.
The SEC family enthusiastically congratulates its own Kevin Delaney for receiving the 2013 Hometown Heroes Award from the law firm of Allen & Allen. For more information, go to: www.allenandallen.com/hometown-heroes.html.
Headquartered in Crewe, SEC is a member-owned not-for-profit electric utility serving more than 54,000 meters at homes and businesses throughout southern and central Virginia. For more information about SEC, please visit www.sec.coop.