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11/16/2009 ~ On November 18, 2009, Keys Energy Services’ (KEYS) Gaylen Russell Free will retire after 30-years of service to the Utility.

Free has been employed by KEYS since 1979, when City Electric System graced the utilities’ letterhead. Throughout his tenure Free held numerous positions within the Utility, including Lineman and Engineering Planner prior to his current position as Line Supervisor for KEYS' Transmission & Distribution department.

When asked about his most memorable experience at KEYS, Free thought back to a stormy night when he was a lineman and was attempting to cut a large tree limb out of the electric lines. “A gust of wind came through at the very instant I was cutting the limb and broke the limb off before I was ready to handle it,” said Free. “The tree limb then blew into the bucket of the truck where I was standing and struck the energized electric line - my partner, who was watching from the ground, said I looked like a lit up blue Christmas tree,” added Free. He survived the self-professed “teeth chattering experience” in one piece.

In reminiscing about his time at KEYS, Free attributed the friendships he has forged with his co-workers over the years, and “the luxury of working with many great people” as the secrets to his longevity and some of the things he will miss most about coming to work each day.

Free has no immediate post-retirement plans and added that he expects, “to chill out for a while and enjoy life from a different point of view.” After a 30-year career at KEYS that took him from the ground all the way to the top of a bucket truck, he has more than earned the right to keep his horizons open.

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