Suzy Kelly Honored for More Than Three Decades of Service to SDCEA

SDCEA Board President Joe Redetzke presents retiring board member Suzy Kelly with flowers at a statewide electric co-op meeting.

After an incredible three decades of devoted service, Suzy Kelly recently stepped away from her role on the SDCEA board of directors. Her colleagues are in awe of all she accomplished during her time here at the co-op and have faith this really isn’t goodbye.

Kelly proved that electricity isn’t just a commodity, but an integral part of everyday life here in the Valley. With her dedication and drive as a member of the board of directors, she ensured our members had access to reliable power at an affordable price point — all while responding quickly in times of outages.

“Electricity is essential to the things we all need to do each day. I have always strived to manage this cooperative to provide safe, reliable power to all the consumers in our area with local needs in mind,” Kelly remarked as she reflected on her more than 32 years serving the member-consumers of SDCEA.

Kelly said SDCEA has prioritized learning about new technologies and alternative energy options applicable to this high mountain region, including wind and solar power, small hydroelectric, and microgrids.

“Sangre has to be open to new technologies in the electric industry, but also remain aware of the reliability of our system.”

Kelly added, “The future of energy in Colorado is being open to change. National and state programs are looking at the use of small hydroelectric, small nuclear and the possibility of geo-thermal energy sources. All of these will become part of the energy available to cooperatives. SDCEA has always been open to learning about new technologies, and if feasible, incorporating these new sources of power.”

Kelly said she will miss learning more about these new options. “I want our consumers to know that Sangre will pursue these options if they are right for our cooperative.”

Kelly served as SDCEA director since 1990; past president, vice-president and secretary of the SDCEA board. She attained a Director’s Gold Credential, the highest recognition of the successful completion of continuing education on the management of and the upholding of fiduciary duty to the cooperative. This recognition included Kelly’s completion of 55 courses from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in electric cooperative utility management.

Kelly was also instrumental in establishing the scholarship and Operation RoundUp (now Power of Change) programs at the cooperative that benefit those in need locally.

Despite her eagerness to experience the cooperative, Kelly had one deal-breaker: heights! “The linemen offered to take me up in a bucket truck, but I am afraid of heights so I declined!” Kelly said.

As a rancher at the base of beautiful Mt. Princeton, and a businesswoman (co-owner of the iconic Hi Rocky Store in Buena Vista for 26 years, which sold in 2003) and having raised a family here, Kelly has connected with many different people in this region.

Kelly is a true treasure for Buena Vista, having been part of the Buena Vista Heritage organization since day one. Not only does she talk and write about our town’s history but also plans to preserve it as part of her job in the Historic Preservation Commission. Plus – if that wasn’t enough– Kelly even uses her talents to create beautiful oil paintings depicting some iconic sites like St Elmo, Mt Princeton Hot Springs or Vicksburg! But there’s more: She can whip up delicious raspberry freezer jam too!

We are grateful for all these gifts from this local legend and will miss her dearly when she moves on with her new life adventures.

Thank you, Suzy, from all of us at SDCEA.