Fred C. Garber of Mount Jackson, a farmer, businessman and longtime electric cooperative director, is the recipient of the 2021 Electric Cooperative Leadership Award from the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.
Garber received the association’s highest award July 22 at a reception at the Rockingham office of Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, where he served as a member of the board of directors from 1984 until 2019.
He was cited for his record of visionary leadership, creative problem-solving and community involvement that have enabled SVEC to better serve its 80,000 members across all or parts of eight counties and the city of Winchester.
“When I think of the traits of a strong, decisive leader, the words ‘dedicated,’ ‘fair’ and ‘introspective’ come to mind. For a textbook example, one should look no further than Fred C. Garber,” said SVEC President and CEO Gregory S. Rogers. “Fred is the epitome of cooperative principles. I’m extremely proud he received this award.”
A Harrisonburg native, Garber grew up on a dairy farm in Weyers Cave. He graduated from Middle River High School and Blue Ridge Community College, and was active in FFA for many years. He and his wife, Barbara, purchased Mount Jackson Farm Service in 1973, operating it for 30 years. Garber is a longtime member of the Forestville-Quicksburg Ruritan Club and is an active member of his home church, Wakemans Grove Church of the Brethren.
On the co-op board, Garber aided with the development of the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative and the purchase of territory formerly served by an investor-owned utility that more than doubled SVEC’s membership. He was also the cooperative’s representative on the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative board of directors.
In retirement, Garber’s farm in Shenandoah County is hosting SVEC’s first community solar project.
“Fred is well-deserving of this award,” said Brian Mosier, president and CEO of the VMD Association. “He has done an outstanding job representing his members and the industry, and we’re indebted to the contributions he and Barbara have made to the co-op family.”
In accepting the leadership honor, Garber said he was as “speechless as speechless gets.”
“In order to make a contribution to an organization, to a community, to a society, you need to be at the right place at the right time, surrounded by the right people, and I have been fortunate in my career and in my life to be surrounded by the right people,” he said.