On Jack McCullar’s retirement day in January, he was hugged by a couple dozen coworkers. One of those hugs lasted a little longer and was a little more special than all the rest.
It might have looked strange coming from a young man who’d been on the job for little more than a month. But that young man, Bryer Crosby, is Jack’s grandson.
Jack worked for East Central Electric Cooperative for over 31 years and had another 13 years of experience in linework before the co-op. For most of that time, he was the Lineman-in-Charge overseeing the Muskogee area.
“I know in 31 years of working here, he’s seen snow and ice, he’s worked through it all,” ECE Manager of Engineering and Operations Jerome Roberts said. “He’s always been a steady hand for our co-op there in Muskogee.”
“I loved my job,” Jack said. “It’s been a blessing, because if I hadn’t loved it, I couldn’t have done it for 44 years, eight months, and five days.”
Although he loved it, Jack said he never encouraged his children to pursue linework. The time away from his kids while they were growing up—leaving in the middle of family dinners to go restore an outage—it was hard on all of them.
“A little over two years ago, Bryer called me and told me he was going into high voltage,” Jack said. “I didn’t think it was such a good idea at the time, but he stayed with it. He graduated. And now I want to thank East Central for giving him a job here. I’m very proud of him.”
Bryer was hired on as an Apprentice Linemen in December 2023, just a month before his grandfather’s retirement.
“I remember him doing linework ever since I was little, and I knew this was something I wanted to do ever since I was little,” Bryer said. “It’s a challenging job, but I saw how rewarding it could be to help people get their electricity back on.”
Coming out of high school, Bryer temporarily let go of his lineworking dreams because he didn’t want to go to college. After a few years in the workforce, though, he decided if he was going to work hard jobs his whole life, he might as well make a good living doing it.
He graduated from the high voltage program at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, and because of his other work experience, happened to be the most qualified candidate for an open Apprentice position.
Lineman-in-Charge of Construction Kelly Rowan has worked alongside Jack for years and is currently Bryer’s supervisor.
“They both have the same calm mindset about their work,” Kelly said. “They’re both patient and listen to what you have to say.”
“Bryer is more energetic, but back when I met Jack 20 years ago, he was the same way,” Kelly said.
The shared personality trait Kelly remarked on is that both men are cool-headed and dependable. “When there’s something to get done, they both go get it done.”
It’s hard on any organization when 44 years of experience walks out the front door. The sting of loss is a little easier when you’re surrounded by family.