Members of Nueces Electric Cooperative (NEC) lined up at the NEC building on Friday, April 25 to pick up their free tree, in celebration of Arbor Day.

Promoting tree safety and care, NEC gave away over 1,000 trees to its members, proving to be a growing annual event, up a full 700 people since last year. This year, several service centers in South Texas participated in the event, including locations in Calallen, Robstown, Ricardo, Orange Grove, and Ben Bolt.

"We believe in supporting our communities as well as them supporting us, so this is something to help beautify the countryside," said Nueces Electric Co-op CEO John Sims. "People are always having to cut down trees for power lines, well here, we want to give back to the communities whenever we can and help."

Beyond just giving back to the community, NEC is also on a mission to educate its members on energy efficiency and safety. During the tree giveaway event, The Co-op set up educational stations, teaching its members on certain aspects of tree safety, such as urging the community to call 811, a service that locates underground gas lines and power lines, before planting a tree. The service helps reduce the risk of being electrocuted.

Also, NEC wants to educate members on trimming their trees. The Co-op shares the rule to trim trees so that they are at least ten feet away from a power line. If the tree has already grown into the lines, call your power line company to safely trim your trees for you.

"We're family-oriented, home town people trying to do the best we can," Sims said, "for service of the people in our service areas."