feather-like snowflakes fell gracefully from the sky and blanketed the
ground, approximately two hundred fifty XIT Rural Telephone members,
invited guests, and employees gathered at the Rita Blanca Lake Coliseum
in Dalhart, on Wednesday, March 10th to celebrate XIT Rural Telephone’s
59th Annual Meeting of the Membership. One hundred were voting members. Members and invited guests were served a delicious roast beef dinner by XIT’s management and employees. The meal was catered by Bar H Steakhouse of Dalhart. Round tables were draped with royal blue and lime green tablecloths. Brightly colored tulips in crystal vases centered each table. The stage was set with blue draping and a white banner depicting XIT’s organization in 1951. Ficus trees and tulips in white pots helped to create an inviting setting for the meeting.
The invocation was delivered by XIT Director, E.H. Little. XIT Board President, J.W. McClellan, welcomed the members and recognized the guests. Among the guests were former XIT General Manager, Jimmy R. White, who served the Cooperative for 30 years before his retirement and Ruby V. Smith, who served as office manager/bookkeeper for 33 years.
Walter Lasley, Vice President and Marketing Committee Chairman, Kathy Duggan, Assistant Manager, and Trena Howell, Sales and Customer Relations Representative, presented the 2010 XIT Rural Telephone Educational Program recipients and their families to the membership. Duggan explained that several scholarship applications were received this year. She said that all applicants were deserving of a scholarship and that it was a difficult decision to make. The 2010 scholarship winners are Eric Burton, Luke Haile, Sunny Russell and Channing Zieman from Stratford High School and Jared McClellan from Texline High School. Each student received a $2000 scholarship to the college of his or her choice. The funds will be divided over the number of semesters to be attended by the students.
A Distinguished Service Award was presented to retiring director, James Spurlock of Sherman County. Mr. Spurlock served the Cooperative for 27 years. He also served as board president from March 14, 2001 to March 8, 2006. Kenneth Stanley of Hartley County, who is also retiring from the board, was recognized for his 14 years of service to the board. Due to illness, Mr. Stanley was unable to attend the meeting.
President McClellan then called on XIT’s General Manager, Darrell Dennis, to present his annual report to the membership. Dennis began by expressing his gratitude to retiring board members Spurlock and Stanley for their many years of dedicated and loyal service to the Cooperative. He continued by thanking the City of Dalhart for clearing the snow-covered parking lot to ensure everyone’s safety. He also expressed appreciation to city employees for their assistance in setting up the tables and chairs for the meeting and to Bar H employees for a job well done.
Dennis continued by informing the membership that the Cooperative continues to invest in plant to modernize and improve service to the rural area. In 2009, the Cooperative completed the placement of fiber to the home at locations in the Stevens and Texline Exchanges and aerial construction in the City of Texline. He explained that XIT currently operates 313 miles of fiber, with 100 of those miles being fiber to the home. With a plant of nearly 2,000 miles of line, he said, “We have a way to go before we have fiber to every location.” Manager Dennis informed the members that XIT Rural Telephone had applied for stimulus money through the RUS to extend fiber to the home (FTTH). He said that while one of XIT’s grants was unsuccessful, the other one was approved. He also said that regardless of the outcome of the government grant program, XIT is committed, with funding from the company’s subsidiary, to continue fiber expansion in the rural area. He explained that XIT’s plan in 2010 includes the construction of over 200 miles of fiber to the home. He said that construction will be targeted where it will do the most good to reduce trouble and increase XIT’s ability to offer high speed broadband data.
Manager Dennis then introduced Doug Schoppe, Comptroller, and asked him to give the financial reports of the Cooperative and its wholly-owned subsidiary, XIT Telecommunications & Technology, Ltd.
President McClellan, called on Allan Frerich, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, to present the report on the nominations for directors for the ensuing three-year term. Those nominated were District I, Dallam County – J.W. McClellan; District II, Hartley County – Nick Olson, and District III, Sherman County – Gared McBryde. Chairman Frerich introduced each candidate to the membership by presenting a short bio of each. The election process was then turned over to Vice President, Walter Lasley. Lasley called for nominations from the floor. There being none, he appointed a Canvassing Committee consisting of Jack Haile, James Gustin, and Gary Herber to tally the ballots. The committee declared the election of J.W. McClellan, Nick Olson and Gared McBryde.
Director E.H. Little conducted the drawing for the door prizes, which were awarded to attending members and their children. Director Little was assisted by XIT employees, fellow director, Floyd French, and Nataleigh Valles, who is the daughter of Rosemary Valles. The winner of the $500 cash grand prize was Jon Hart. Winners of the $300 cash grand prizes were Louise Day, Troy Wharton and Jane Murray. Alicia Bezner and Barbara Diller were $100 cash grand prize winners.
All the members’ children and grandchildren (12 years and under) were given lime green, draw-string backpacks filled with crayolas, coloring books, water bottles and rulers. After the prizes were distributed, the meeting was adjourned.
Immediately following the conclusion of the annual meeting, the Board of Directors met at the Cooperative’s headquarters and held their Organizational Meeting. At this meeting, the following officers were elected: J.W. McClellan, President; Walter E. Lasley, Vice President, and Gary Finch, Secretary-Treasurer.