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Finishing Strong! NGS Employees Look Back With Tears and Smiles

Finishing Strong! NGS Employees Look Back With Tears and Smiles
November 13
05:38 2019

George Hardeen

The ground was broken on the Navajo Generating Station on April 21, 1970. Last night at the Page Campus of Coconino Community College several speakers shared their heartfelt thoughts about working at the Navajo Nation facility, amid tears and laughs, in front of the many people who came.

It was part of CCC’s “Ed Talks” series and was hosted by George Hardeen of the Salt River Project. It featured numerous current and former employees of NGS recalling their many memories at the plant, mostly lighthearted stories that brought out the laughs. But there were also tears among the speakers, who are sad to see the end of NGS arriving quite soon.

Introduced to the gathering by CCC’s Kay Leum, Mr. Hardeen took his audience from the very beginning; the breaking of the ground, through its construction and toward its end, which is now days away.

One thing that was stressed by Hardeen, and longtime maintenance manager, Shane Jones, was that this was one clean electric plant! In fact, no water from the plant, including rain, sleet, and snow, ever made its way to Lake Powell. The plant was clean, and the lake was in no danger of any NGS pollution.

Said Mr. Jones, “It could have been a very dangerous place to work, but instead it was a very safe place to work.”

A young girl rests on her brother as he and his dad listen Tuesday night

At its peak, NGS had 2,200 workers. They involved three shifts 24/7, and some temporary workers, too.

Among the many facts shared by Hardeen:

Many women worked at NGS, and in all departments.

NGS had its own fire department, and part of their training was climbing those three stacks.

He also told the large crowd that many items within the facility are being archived for safe-keeping in Phoenix.  Meanwhile, it will take three years to decommission the Navajo Generating Station. Part of the deal when it was built, was that when it closed, the land was to be returned to its natural state. There will be a few buildings left, by request of Navajo Nation leaders.

“Finish Strong.” That’s the statement NGS employees lived and worked by ever since it was learned the life of the facility was coming to an end. They promised not to lat their good work habits fade since they would soon be leaving NGS. Instead, as has been stressed by George Hardeen, they promised to finish strong, and they have.

 

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