Fayetteville Public Utilities’ (FPU) Board of Directors met for their monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 27. As part of the meeting agenda, Tennessee Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Assistant Director Ross Colona provided an explanation of the potential merger or consolidation with the City of Petersburg’s Water System. The purpose, role and authority of the Tennessee Comptroller’s Division of Local Government is to provide regulatory services to approximately 450 utilities in the state of Tennessee. 

Colona explained to the board as well as elected officials and community members in attendance that when a utility district is deemed distressed, such as Petersburg Water System, steps are taken to determine if a merger or consolidation with another utility is in the best interest of the public being served by the system. 

As a last resort, the Tennessee Board of Utility Regulation (TBOUR) can order a merger between two utilities. The steps toward a merger or consolidation are thorough and rigorous, requiring an extended time to complete because the board tries to ensure that the utility helping another does not suffer negative effects from the merger. 

In the early phases of a potential merger or consolidation, the finances and operations of the ailing utility system will be reviewed by TBOUR. If the results of the review favor consolidation, the board may order a study by a qualified expert to determine the feasibility and benefit of a merger with another utility system. If the outcome supports consolidation, TBOUR staff will hold a public hearing within the service area of the ailing utility system to notify customers of the potential merger. 

After the public hearing, TBOUR will schedule a date and time to conduct an informal hearing to determine if a merger is advantageous for the public being served by the ailing utility system. The board will order the systems to develop a merger agreement consisting of necessary provisions to comply with applicable state and federal laws if consolidation is determined to be the best route. 

Colona stressed that his office has not had to interact with FPU due to FPU’s good operating standards and strong financial position. He recommended that FPU maintain a separate rate structure and a separate set of books for the customers in the Town of Petersburg. He did not advocate for FPU raising their current customer rates to cover the costs of acquiring the Town. He expressed several times that the purpose of the potential merger between the two utilities is to provide a public service to the entire community.

According to FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye, “Fayetteville Public Utilities believes in being good stewards of the community. For us, our customers’ needs, health and wellbeing are of greatest importance. If all steps in the merger are completed and the state determines consolidation to be the best solution for the public being served by the Petersburg Water System, a merger with FPU will be mandated, and we will do what is necessary to make essential infrastructure repairs to bring the Petersburg system into a better situation. Our existing water customers will not incur the costs of the repairs and improvements to Petersburg. No matter the outcome of this potential merger, FPU will continue serving customers with safe, high-quality drinking water that meets or exceeds state and federal guidelines.”

[FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye (right) with Tennessee Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Assistant Director Ross Colona (center) and Tennessee Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Senior Analyst Meghan Huffstutter (left) at the March meeting of FPU’s Board of Directors.]
Glennoldham directorgold 1


Fayetteville Public Utilities’ (FPU) Board Secretary and Treasurer Glenn Oldham recently received Director Gold certification through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

Due to an ever-changing business environment, new demands have been imposed on utility directors. These new demands require increased knowledge of changes in the utility business, new governance skills and a solid knowledge of the core principles and business model.

FPU is committed to working with NRECA to sharpen this body of knowledge for the benefit of their customers. Although the NRECA board training sessions focus mainly on the electric industry, a vast majority of the training can be easily applied to governing  all utility services offered by FPU.

NRECA’s Director Certificate Program is designed to help directors at every step of their service. The NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director (CCD) program consists of five courses that focus on basic governance knowledge and the essential skills required of utility directors. The NRECA Board Leadership Certificate (BLC) recognizes individuals who continue their professional development after becoming a CCD. Directors who have attained the BLC have completed 10 credits in advanced, issues-oriented courses. To ensure boards have a diverse set of knowledge and skills, courses are not allowed to be duplicated. Each course lasts at least eight hours, and it can take directors up to three years to earn both their CCD and BLC certificates.

Director Gold Credential is the highest level of NRECA certification available to directors. For a director to achieve Director Gold status, they must have already earned the CCD and BLC and earn three additional credits from the BLC series of courses. Unlike the CCD and BLC certificates, Director Gold includes a continuing education requirement which calls for directors to earn three credits of approved course work and/or conferences every two years to maintain their Director Gold status.

“Educational opportunities are important for both our employees and our board of directors,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “The knowledge gained through training and continuing education courses offered by utility organizations, such as NRECA, provide our employees and directors with the skills and professional expertise needed to better serve our customers, community and utility.”  

[FPU Chairman of the Board Russ Dixon (left) presents NRECA’s Director Gold certification to Board Secretary and Treasurer Glenn Oldham (right).]
Sub waterplant 05


During the March meeting of Fayetteville Public Utilities’ (FPU) Student Utility Board (SUB), students toured the water treatment plant. Utility board members learned about the process of turning water from the Elk River into clean, safe drinking water.

“Students gain an abundance of knowledge when visiting our water treatment plant,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “They observe our advanced filtration process that turns water from the river into clean, safe drinking water. Students also witness our employees’ commitment to supplying our customers with potable water that meets or exceeds all state and federal standards.”

Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Lee Williams began the meeting with an overview of the water department’s responsibilities and day-to-day activities. Williams explained the job requirements for operating a water treatment plant. He also described Tennessee’s four levels of operator certification and the training required to ensure employees are knowledgeable in the safe and proper operation and maintenance of the plant.

Assistant Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Wesley Roland led students on a tour of FPU’s state-of-the-art Grade IV water treatment facility. During the tour, Roland detailed how the plant delivers high quality drinking water to its customers using a membrane filtration system that exceeds what is required by the state. Case Creson, SUB member, commented, “It was great to see how hard FPU employees work to provide their customers with safe and clean water.”

After students toured the facility, Williams explained the purpose of conducting routine water tests and reporting to ensure the delivery of safe and reliable water to the community. FPU employees supervised students in the facilities’ laboratories as they tested water samples for pH levels, manganese, chlorine and fluoride. Students also performed a bacteriological water analysis to verify the absence of harmful bacteria in the supply. “The employees at the water treatment plant conduct many tests to make sure our water is safe and clean,” said Avery Raby, student board member.  

In April, the Student Utility Board will tour the wastewater treatment plant to learn the biological process of turning wastewater from homes and businesses into a high-quality effluent that is safe to release back into the river.

[FPU employees guide SUB members on a tour of the water treatment plant. Back row, from left: Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Lee Williams, Javon Fox, Eli Layne, Hayden Swinford, Case Creson, Assistant Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Wesley Roland and Water Treatment Plant Operator Eric Arnold, front row, Avery Raby, India Bryson and Saira Martinez.]
Ylswithbritt2024 1


In mid-March, forty-six high school juniors from across the state were in Nashville  for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association’s (TECA) 2024 Youth Leadership Summit. Delegates to this annual event receive a hands-on look at state government, learn networking and leadership skills and develop a better understanding of their local utility.

“Our future depends on the next generation of strong leaders,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye, “and it is an honor for FPU to play a part in inspiring local youth to become tomorrow’s leaders. The Youth Leadership Summit is just one of the many ways FPU serves our community and invests in the future.”

During the Summit, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett welcomed the students to the Capitol where they visited legislators, sat in on committee meetings and debated and voted on a mock bill.

In addition to meeting with lawmakers and experiencing the State Capitol Building, students also developed their leadership and team-building skills at the Joe C. Davis YMCA Outdoor Center at Camp Widjiwagan, participated in an electric safety demonstration and completed a training course with leadership expert Amy Gallimore. Delegates also attended a Nashville Predators hockey game as special guests of the Preds.

Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) sponsored Lincoln County High School student Veronica Williams and Fayetteville High School student Alan Armas as Youth Leadership Summit delegates. While visiting the Capitol, Williams and Armas met with their local legislators, Representative Pat Marsh and Representative Clay Doggett, who spoke with students about the importance of being servant leaders who focus on the needs of others.

“This trip was a huge learning experience for me,” said Veronica Williams, YLS delegate. “I made connections with delegates from other counties and have been able to network with them since the Summit. I really enjoyed seeing the Predators and watching them work as a team and support each other. I am so thankful to FPU and TECA for providing me with this opportunity.”

Delegate Alan Armas added, “I had an amazing time at the Youth Leadership Summit, and I enjoyed every bit of the trip. At the Summit, we learned about leadership roles, the importance of teamwork and the many ways utilities contribute to their communities. I’d like to thank FPU and TECA for giving me the opportunity to attend.”

[FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye (left) congratulates Veronica Williams (center) and Alan Armas (right) for being selected as FPU’s delegates to TECA’s Youth Leadership Summit in Nashville.]


February’s meeting of Fayetteville Public Utilities’ (FPU) Student Utility Board (SUB) focused on the accounting, billing and marketing departments.

FPU Assistant Manager Kim Posey spoke to the students about the importance of each FPU department, including those working behind the scenes. When thinking of future careers, Posey urged students to consider their strengths and their interests. She remarked that not everyone is suited for a career in accounting, but a person who exercises accuracy and focuses on details should consider it.

Billing Supervisor Teresa Gentry explained that the billing department is responsible for sending monthly invoices to FPU’s residential and commercial customers. She displayed an example bill to help students locate important information about usage, charges and due dates. Gentry pointed out that FPU chooses to list the TVA Total Monthly Fuel Charge as a separate line item on customers’ bills instead of merely adding it to the total electric. Gentry stressed the importance of ensuring customers are billed correctly by checking the meter readings against the customer’s previous usage.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Rives summarized the duties of the accounting department. He explained that almost every task performed at FPU is connected to some type of financial transaction and those transactions must be recorded correctly. Rives shared that FPU’s electric, water, wastewater, natural gas and telecom departments are treated as separate entities. Therefore, profits from one department cannot be used to fund the operations of another. He also stressed the importance of checks and balances to ensure accuracy when dealing with transactions.
The meeting concluded with a tour of the marketing department. Communications Supervisor Don Counts presented examples of various print and digital materials his department produces to effectively communicate information and convey utility updates to customers and employees. Students enjoyed assisting the department with a promotional video to be shared on the utility’s YouTube Channel as well as local radio stations. According to Hayden Swinford, SUB member, “I enjoyed learning what the marketing department does and all the different ways they inform the community.”

"At today’s meeting, students were given a unique glimpse into departments that primarily work behind-the-scenes at FPU,” said CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “These areas support other departments and perform essential tasks that allow our utility to operate smoothly. Through FPU’s Student Utility Board, students are given the opportunity to explore diverse careers and witness how all departments work together to contribute to the success of the utility.”

In March, students will visit FPU's state-of-the-art water treatment plant to observe the process of turning water from the Elk River into clean drinking water.

[FPU’s Student Utility Board tours the accounting, billing and marketing departments. From left: Chief Financial Officer Brian Rives, Javon Fox, Hayden Swinford, Avery Raby, Saira Martinez, India Bryson, Case Creson, Eli Layne, Assistant Manager Kim Posey, Billing Supervisor Teresa Gentry and Communications Supervisor Don Counts.]


Extremely cold weather can have a big impact on energy and water bills. January saw consecutive days of near zero low temperatures and high temperatures below freezing. In fact, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) set an all-time record peak energy demand on Wednesday morning, January 17. These extended periods of cold weather can lead to increased demand in energy consumption resulting in higher energy bills. Extreme cold temperatures also prompt many to leave faucets dripping to avoid frozen water pipes resulting in higher water bills.

Why does energy consumption go up when the temperature goes down? The answer is fairly simple. Colder outdoor temperatures require your home’s heating system to operate longer to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. This is true even when the thermostat settings are unchanged.

Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) urges customers who are having difficulty paying their bills to contact them as soon as possible at 433-1522. FPU can help customers set up payment arrangements and take advantage of assistance provided by local agencies. Customers may also avoid sharp increases in bills due to seasonal fluctuations in energy use by enrolling in FPU’s Budget Billing program. Budget Billing allows eligible electric and natural gas customers to pay averaged bills based on their prior 12-month usage, making it easier to budget the amount monthly.

For those needing assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, may be able to help pay home electric and natural gas costs through a direct payment to your utility account with FPU. Learn more by calling South Central Human Resource Agency at 433-7182 or by visiting

In addition, FPU’s Project Help is a heating assistance program helping local people in need. Project Help is available to assist those 60 and older or individuals with disabilities with their heating costs from October through March. Find out if you qualify by contacting the Good Samaritan Association of Lincoln County by phone at 433-0260 or in person at the Ralph Hastings Building located at 208 Davidson St. West. The Good Samaritan Association is open Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

“As always, FPU is here for our customers,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “To help with higher bills, FPU is waiving late payment fees and disconnections due to non-payment through March 26, 2024. Please be aware that bills will look the same and include late fees, but those fees will be waived. If you are having trouble paying your bill, we are here to help and can be reached at 433-1522.”
Subtelecom2024 2


The Fayetteville Public Utilities’ (FPU) Student Utility Board (SUB) met in January to tour the telecommunications department and learn about FPU’s internet and digital phone services.

FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye opened the meeting with a brief history of the telecom department. He described how FPU’s telecom services have advanced and expanded since entering the business in 1999. In 2009, the department added Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) digital phone service, which uses an internet connection to make and receive calls. Dye stressed that all utilities are important at FPU. Therefore, the utility responds to an internet or phone interruption in the same timely manner as a power disruption.

Telecommunications Supervisor/Substation Technician Eric Reeves stressed FPU’s commitment to expand broadband service. He explained that FPU has obtained 4 grants through the State of Tennessee to help fund internet expansion and continues to seek additional funding opportunities. Reeves emphasized the importance of these grants to deliver broadband to areas not served by other internet providers. Currently, FPU serves over 4,000 active telecom customers. To help students grasp the impact of these grants, Reeves described the latest grant, which passes 4,500 homes that could potentially be added as new accounts if customers choose to connect.

Telecom Lead Technician Drew Cline explained that when the telecom department began, the internet was not a leading service. Today, it has become a necessity and the department’s focus. Cline stressed that the internet business has seen a lot of changes in a short period of time. To stay current, FPU is committed to training their employees in the latest technology and equipment. 

Reeves and Cline led students on a tour of the telecom department. They demonstrated how fiber optic cables work to deliver internet to homes and businesses and explained the process of fiber splicing to permanently join two fiber cables together. Students observed Reeves and Cline as they utilized techniques to troubleshoot fiber problems.

Students participated in a fiber splicing workshop where they were able to practice the process. Case Creson, SUB member, commented, “Learning how precise you have to be when splicing fiber was a very neat process to see.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, students visited the location of a fiber installation. They were able to observe FPU technicians splicing fiber to connect a customer to FPU’s high-speed network. “It’s amazing to learn about all the technology FPU uses to provide telecom services to customers,” said student member Saira Martinez.

“Fayetteville Public Utilities is focused on providing services that not only meet the needs of today but also prepare for the needs of the future,” said Dye. “Through their experiences with our Student Utility Board, members are given the opportunity to witness the huge role utilities, like broadband, play in our community’s growth and development.”

In February, FPU’s Student Utility Board will learn about accounting, billing and marketing and discover the importance of each department to FPU’s daily operations.

[FPU’s Student Utility Board tours the telecom department. From left: Telecom Lead Technician Drew Cline, India Bryson, Saira Martinez, Avery Raby, Case Creson, Javon Fox, Eli Layne and Telecommunications Supervisor/Substation Technician Eric Reeves. Not pictured is Hayden Swinford.]
Brittinscada 3


When strong winds, accumulating snow and freezing temperatures were forecasted for most of Tennessee including Fayetteville and Lincoln County, Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) was well prepared for the winter weather across all utility departments.

“We have made a lot of improvements in each of our departments to plan for additional loads and ensure all utilities are prepared for this type of weather,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “Days in advance, our crews began inspecting our systems. FPU’s infrastructure has grown tremendously, and our system has ample capacity. However, when experiencing this type of weather, a weak spot can occasionally present itself. We can’t always find these spots until an event of this nature occurs, but we do all we can to try and avoid them in advance.”

Ahead of the cold and snow, FPU joined other local power companies in virtual meetings with the Tennessee Valley Authority to discuss TVA’s power grid and what could be expected during the upcoming weather event. TVA predicted a power peak of 35,500 to 36,000 megawatts to occur late Tuesday into Wednesday morning when temperatures were expected to drop into the single digits.

“When FPU became aware of TVA’s record projections, we created a plan for monitoring our system,” added Dye. “The decision was made to stage personnel at several different critical locations overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning. We wanted people in place to monitor any situations that arose and, if needed, to restore utilities as safely and as quickly as possible. In these types of conditions, it is important to be prepared. Public safety is a leading concern for us, and we do all we can to keep everyone safe and warm.”

During 2022’s Winter Storm Elliot when rolling power outages were implemented by TVA, the power demand reached 31,756 megawatts. Due to the forecasted freezing temperatures and TVA’s projected power peak for last week’s winter weather, rolling power outages became a concern once again. FPU utilized social media, the Elk Valley Times and WYTM and WEKR radio stations, to make customers aware that TVA could possibly call for rolling power outages, and if so, FPU and the other 153 local power companies would be required to comply.

With wind chills dipping below zero, TVA reached a record peak of 34,526 megawatts, short of the projected 35,500 megawatts, on Wednesday, January 17, at 7:30 a.m. The previous power demand record was 33,482 megawatts set in the summer of 2007.

“Thankfully, TVA did not have to implement rolling power outages with this event,” said Dye. “The power peak exceeded that of Winter Storm Elliot, but TVA was better prepared and did not experience issues with their system as with the previous storm.”

TVA did implement Steps 10 and 20 of their Emergency Load Curtailment Plan. Step 10 calls for TVA and local power companies to turn off lights and adjust heating and cooling in their buildings. Step 20 is a request for residential and industrial customers to voluntarily conserve power. TVA terminated both steps once temperatures increased around midday on Wednesday, January 17.

“We appreciate our customers and their help in curtailing the load, so TVA could avoid implementing rolling power outages,” Dye expressed. “FPU’s power demand peaked at 120 megawatts, and our infrastructure across all departments remained stable and held up well during this entire event. We appreciate our dedicated employees who always work hard to keep the utilities flowing and ensure everyone’s safety. Our work is never done. Once employees have received some much-needed rest, we will begin preparations for the next weather event.”

[During the extreme cold temperatures and projected power peak, FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye and Dispatcher Sharlet Farris monitor utility loads and operation data using FPU’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.]


When Hands of Mercy Outreach Center Director Tina Hudson urgently called for volunteers to assemble Hygiene Bags of Blessings, the employees at Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) responded wholeheartedly. Demonstrating their individual commitment to making a positive impact, FPU's dedicated workforce actively engaged in packing 44 bags filled with essential hygiene products. These contributions are set to be distributed by Hands of Mercy Outreach Center, extending a helping hand to families in need throughout Fayetteville and Lincoln County.

“We are humbled to be a part of what Hands of Mercy is doing to make a difference in the lives of people who live in this community,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “FPU seeks ways to make positive impacts, and this outreach opportunity allows us to provide necessary hygiene products, like toothpaste and shampoo, to those who don’t have access to them. These basic products can be expensive and place an extra burden on families struggling to make ends meet. FPU employees were happy to help Hands of Mercy fill this need in our community.”

Hands of Mercy is a ministry focused on meeting the needs of local individuals and families facing food insecurity. In addition to providing weekly food distribution and sponsoring a weekend feeding program for children in our local schools, Hands of Mercy offers mobile food pantries throughout the year to reach those at risk of hunger in the community.

According to Hands of Mercy Outreach Center Director Tina Hudson, “We are so appreciative to FPU employees and others in the community who collected these hygiene items to bless families in Lincoln County! These items are definitely needed by those families that we feed each and every month, and they are always so thankful for receiving these items! We love the involvement that FPU has in reaching out to families in Lincoln County and their partnership with Hands of Mercy!”

[Hands of Mercy Outreach Center Director Tina Hudson (left) receives 44 Hygiene Bags of Blessings from FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye (right). FPU employees filled the bags with necessary hygiene products to be distributed to families in Fayetteville and Lincoln County.]
Taudstudents 2


Local high school students participate in a pre-apprenticeship program administered by Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) and the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD). The program is designed to bring awareness to careers in the water industry, to educate young people about the importance of being good stewards of water resources and to address the need for certified water operators in rural Tennessee counties.

“FPU is honored to partner with TAUD to help students gain knowledge in the day-to-day operations of a water treatment facility,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “During this 10-month program, students work under the close supervision of FPU employees to receive training and real-world experiences allowing them to explore careers in the industry.”

At the group’s initial meeting in August, TAUD Workforce Development Coordinator Kevin Byrd gave students an overview of the pre-apprenticeship program, FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye discussed the water department’s responsibilities and the various careers associated with the field and FPU Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Lee Williams guided the group on a tour of FPU’s water facility.

Williams began September’s meeting by conducting chemical safety training to prepare students for work in the facility’s laboratories. The group was supervised by water treatment plant employees as they tested various stages of water samples and conducted daily lab tests. Williams explained the purpose of the tests as well as the reports provided to the state to ensure the delivery of safe and reliable drinking water to the community.

At October’s meeting, students received chlorine safety training from Williams. Water treatment plant employees demonstrated how to use the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), which is the respiratory protection equipment intended for use if a chlorine leak occurs. At the meeting, students also performed a bacteriological water analysis to verify the absence of harmful bacteria in the supply. After collecting the sample, students added food and placed it in the incubator. Once the allotted time had passed, employees read and recorded the results to share with students later.

During November’s meeting, the high schoolers worked on resume building and interview skills. Williams discussed the importance of creating a strong resume that sells your strengths and grabs the attention of a prospective employer. He also emphasized the value of preparing for an interview by anticipating what will be asked and practicing how to answer. The students participated in mock interviews to simulate real-life interactions and enhance their communication skills.

“The TAUD and FPU program has been a great experience and extremely engaging,” said TAUD Pre-Apprentice Sarah Prince. “I’ve enjoyed touring the facilities and conducting hands on experiments with water treatment. We’ve had the opportunity to learn new ways to conduct ourselves properly in the workplace and life skills that can be used in the future. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

At each monthly meeting, students explore a different aspect of water treatment. At the completion of the program, students will have gained several certifications as well as knowledge and skills related to the water industry.

[Students from Fayetteville High School and Lincoln County High School participate in a 10-month pre-apprenticeship program focused on the water industry. (Back row, from left) FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye, FPU Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Lee Williams, Kris Eslick, Brett Dobbs, Carson Thompson, Jay Patterson, Knox Rogers and TAUD Workforce Development Coordinator Kevin Byrd (front row) Wyatt Buchanan, Jameson McGill, India Bryson, Sarah Prince and Katlyn Wilson.]
Img 0619


Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) is continuing its partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in addressing hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by participating in the Community Care Fund program. This fund helps local power companies, like FPU, meet immediate needs in their communities by providing matching funds to support local organizations with resources, programs and assistance.

On Monday, October 23, representatives from FPU and TVA gathered at Fayetteville-Lincoln County Senior Center to announce the center as a recipient of the Community Care Fund. FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye and TVA Customer Service Manager Lynn Huffstetler presented Henrietta Towry, director of the senior center, with a combined contribution of $16,500 made possible through the partnership of FPU and TVA.

“We are so appreciative of the Community Care Fund donation, and I’m excited to see the impact of these funds and how they will be utilized in the form of aesthetic improvements, potential day trip excursions and the requested activities and crafts,” said Towry. “The senior center is such an important asset in our community and these funds will aid us in reaching new members through the services we will be able to provide.”

“Since the pandemic, senior centers have experienced a decrease in resources and have found it difficult to recover,” remarked Dye. “Our senior center provides valuable services to our community, and we hope this donation helps the center continue to offer the programs that make a difference and improve their participants’ quality of life.”

The Fayetteville-Lincoln County Senior Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Seniors ages 55 and older are invited to gather at the center for lunch, fellowship, activities and even a cup of coffee. Membership fees are $1.00 per year. Visit the center’s Facebook page to view their calendar, menu and upcoming activities. For more information, call the senior center at 931-433-7271 and speak with Henrietta Towry.

[FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye and TVA Customer Service Manager Lynn Huffstetler present Henrietta Towry, director of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Senior Center, with a check for $16,500 made possible by the Community Care Fund, a partnership between FPU and TVA to help local organizations overcome hardships caused by the pandemic.]


Wyt23 18
Three students from Lincoln County spent a week in the nation’s capital as delegates of the 2023 Washington Youth Tour. Georganna Atkins of Riverside Christian Academy, Samantha Cagle of Lincoln County High School and Maria Cruz Solis of Fayetteville High School joined 128 other students from across Tennessee on the weeklong trip that began on Friday, June 16.

The annual event is sponsored by Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) and the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA). The students were selected for the trip by writing a short story titled “Co-ops Connect” that explains how local utilities connect Tennessee communities with energy, education, broadband, economic development and more.

FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye commented, “Through the Youth Tour, these young people are given an extraordinary chance to explore history and public policy in a direct way, cultivate their leadership skills and acquire knowledge that will be valuable for their communities down the road.”

“The Washington Youth Tour is more than just a trip,” said Todd Blocker, vice president of member relations for TECA and tour director. “It’s a transformative experience that ignites a love of history, inspires leadership and empowers young minds to shape the future. By witnessing awe-inspiring monuments, engaging with our nation’s leaders and connecting with a community of peers, the Washington Youth Tour can cultivate a lifelong passion for active citizenship.”

While in Washington, D.C., Tennessee’s Youth Tour delegates saw the White House and memorials to past presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as well as monuments honoring the sacrifices of veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean Wars. During visits to the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the touring Tennesseans saw and experienced natural, historical and artistic treasures. Other fun stops included historic homes of former presidents – George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello – as well as the National Harbor, the Washington National Cathedral and a boat cruise down the Potomac River. The group also paid a solemn and sobering visit to Arlington National Cemetery where the delegates laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Delegates were welcomed to the U.S. Capitol by Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, as well as other members of the Tennessee congressional delegation. The students had the opportunity to take photos with them and ask them questions.
Wyt23 19
While in D.C., winners were announced in the statewide competition for the Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships. Livia Benefield from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, Cole Coffman from Southwest Tennessee Electric Cooperative and Claire Townley from Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative were awarded $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 Robert McCarty Memorial Scholarships for having the first, second and third place papers of the thousands submitted across the state for this year’s contest. The scholarships are named in memory of Robert McCarty, an employee of Volunteer Energy Cooperative and longtime chaperone on the annual Youth Tour.

Ernee Webb, a senior from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, was awarded a $10,000 Cooperative Youth Ambassador Scholarship. Webb was a 2022 delegate on the Washington Youth Tour. Delegates who remain engaged with their sponsoring utility during their senior year and complete certain community service requirements are eligible for the scholarship. Webb’s name was randomly selected among the 25 delegates from across the state who completed the requirements.

“Investing in these young people not only nurtures their potential but is an investment in the future of rural and suburban Tennessee,” said Mike Knotts, CEO of TECA. “It is exciting to consider the impact that these talented young people will have on their communities, and local utilities are honored to support their academic journeys.”

The Washington Youth Tour was inspired by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1957 when he encouraged local utilities to send young people to the nation’s capital. Since then, more than 6,000 young Tennesseans have participated in the Washington Youth Tour as delegates.

“We take great pride in recognizing the best and brightest from across Fayetteville and Lincoln County,” adds Dye. “FPU cares about the future, and the Washington Youth Tour is just one way we honor the accomplishments of future leaders. We want these young people to come home with a better understanding of their nation and a new passion to serve their community.”

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association provides leadership, advocacy and support for Tennessee’s 23 local utilities and publishes The Tennessee Magazine, the state’s most widely circulated periodical. Visit or to learn more.