IRMO, S.C. - Al J. Ballard, a long time electric cooperative and community development leader, passed away Wednesday, October 18th at his home in Irmo, SC. He was 76. Born in Gordon, Texas, Ballard grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado. He was an Airborne Ranger and combat veteran and was proud of his service with the 82nd Airborne during the Korean War. Ballard spent nearly 30 years as an executive with Electric Cooperative organizations in South Carolina, Nebraska, and Washington, DC. Beginning with Aiken Electric Cooperative, Aiken, SC. At the SC Electric Cooperative Association in Columbia he won national acclaim for his creation of the South Carolina Stand Tall Commission, a community development program which brought water systems and fire protection to rural areas across the state. As Executive Vice President of the SC association, Ballard provided leadership in legislation creating the Palmetto Economic Development Corporation, a partnership of the state's 20 electric cooperatives and their chief power supplier, Santee Cooper, the state-owned electric utility. In the aftermath of hurricane Hugo Ballard directed the Association in its coordination of additional crews and equipment to aid the state's electric cooperatives in restoring power to the affected areas. He also organized relief efforts for SC families affected by the storm through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. He and his wife Jenny were instrumental in the formation of Women In Rural Electrification (WIRE) a group of SC cooperative consumers and employees which raises funds and provides support to meet community and individual family needs. The WIRE program has been adopted by several electric cooperative organizations across the country. Following his Electric Cooperative retirement, Ballard served as President of the Palmetto Project and the SC Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Over his lifetime he received numerous regional and national awards forhis humanitarian and community development efforts. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jenny Ballard of the home; a son, Al Ballard, Jr. (Sally) of Cypress, Texas; a daughter, Alyce Edwards (Brad); five grandchildren; and sisters, Marie McNitt (Jim), Grass Valley, California and Donna Bonenfant (Daniel) of Columbia. A memorial service will be held at Eastlake Community Church, 10057 Broad River Road, Irmo, Monday, October 23rd. The family will receive visitors beginning at 4 p.m. at the church and following the memorial service which is scheduled for 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be made to East Lake Community Church-Acts. The SC Cremation and Memorial Society of Aiken, SC is in charge of arrangements. 800-758-9115 - southcarolinacremation.com.
The Augusta Chronicle-October 20, 2006