Willie Wiredhand (©NRECA) is the longtime friendly face and spokesplug of rural electric cooperatives nationwide. Adopted in 1951 by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Willie’s last name is one of the original nicknames for rural electric cooperatives: “wiredhand” (because electricity brought to rural America by co-ops in the 1930s and 40s was the never-tiring, always available hired hand to assist the nation’s farmers.) Willie — with his light-socket head, wire body and electrical plug for his bottom and legs — is now considered an icon among many in the pantheon of corporate advertising characters.
No story about Moreau-Grand would be complete without our mascot, Willie Wiredhand. Willie made his first appearance in the February 1954 issue of the Moreau-Grand Hi-Line-Flashes. Farmers always hoped they would some day find a hired hand that would never tire, always be there, and always be ready for work.
In 1951, Willie was chosen by rural electric cooperatives to serve as their national symbol of rural electrification. Today Willie serves hundreds of member systems across the nation. He appears everywhere in headquarters buildings, substations, billboards, signs, letterheads, annual reports, newspapers, and in a great variety of printed matter.
Willie not only represents rural electrification in the abstract, but also the many ways in which farmers and other rural people can put electricity to use in their work and in their leisure.
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