Calhoun, Huntsville Utilities unveil John Harbin Line Worker Annual Memorial Scholarship

Austin Thompson, a native of Ardmore was selected as the first scholarship recipient

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 7:11 PM
Updated: Oct 16, 2020 8:24 PM

Calhoun Community College Interim President Dr. Joe Burke and Huntsville Utilities CEO Wes Kelley on Friday announced the launch of the John Harbin Line Worker Annual Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship aims to help support future lineman who complete Calhoun’s Pre-Apprentice Lineman Program.

Calhoun Community College photo

Learn more in this news release announcing the scholarship:

John Harbin, known as Johnny to family and friends, was born in Rogersville, Alabama. He graduated from Sparkman High School in 1981 and attended the University of North Alabama in Florence, AL. His career at Huntsville Utilities began with a part-time position in the Meter Shop.

That job positioned him to advance to the Electric Department, which turned into a lifetime career for Harbin. He worked for Huntsville Utilities for 34 years. After his passing in 2019, his family and friends raised $4,500 to create a scholarship that would honor his passion and his memory.

Because of their efforts, Huntsville Utilities matched their donations with the scholarship now totaling more than $9,000.

“Johnny was not only a dear friend of mine, but he was a family member as well,” commented Mac McCutcheon, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. “He was a great man who loved his job and was always eager to travel across the country when a storm hit to help people who were affected. I know if he were here today, he would be so proud of every one of the young men that have chosen this skill as a career,” added McCutcheon.

According to Houston Blackwood, Calhoun Director of Workforce Solutions, at the end of every lineman class, a student will be selected from the group as a scholarship recipient. Austin Thompson, a native of Ardmore, AL was selected as the first scholarship recipient and was presented with a lineman Buckingham gear bag, climbing belt, a set of climbing hooks, and a buck squeeze safety strap totaling more than $3,000. The items were donated courtesy of sponsors such as Buckingham Buck, ESTEX Manufacturing, KLEIN Tools, and GRESCO. “This is a very special occasion,” commented Dr. Joe Burke, Calhoun Interim President. “We are honored to house this scholarship at our institution and we look forward to honoring Mr. Harbin’s memory for years to come as we continue to train these students with the skills necessary to excel in this field,” added Burke.

“One of the amazing things about our industry is that no matter what is being built, we have a hand in it,” commented Wes Kelley, Huntsville Utilities CEO. “John was one of the strongest and most vocal employees at Huntsville Utilities and loved his career. We are so excited that we were able to match the gifts of his loved ones to continue his legacy through scholarship and training,” added Kelley.

To learn more about the John Harbin Annual Memorial Scholarship, visit. www.calhoun.edu/harbin.

Registration is now open for Calhoun’s next lineman program, which is scheduled to begin March 8 – April 23, 2021. To learn more about the program, visit, https://calhoun.edu/workforce-solutions/pre-apprentice-lineworker-program/.

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