He’s perhaps the craftiest director at Basin Electric

Charlie Gilbert

Basin Electric Director Charlie Gilbert.

Charlie Gilbert doesn’t always create art with recycled materials. But when he does, it’s because his daughter asked him to.

So when she spotted corrugated steel Christmas trees at a recent craft show, she immediately thought of the perfect cooperative man to replicate them – Gilbert, Basin Electric director.

Gilbert wasn’t expecting his trees to be a big hit when he donated six of them to a recent cooperative auction – but they were.

His handiwork raked in $165 for the Iowa Friends of Rural Electrification Political Action Committee (PAC), part of the ultimately more than $15,500 raised during Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting – a fundraising record.

Gilbert is normally more of a woodworking enthusiast, but he decided to take on the steel tree project in the spirit of the holidays – and fatherhood.

“It was what my daughter wanted, so I made it happen,” he says.

Steel Trees

A collection of steel trees crafted by Charlie Gilbert sit on display.

As Gilbert worked to perfect the design, his shop quickly filled with steel trees. That’s when he decided to donate some to the PAC during the annual meeting, Dec. 4 in West Des Moines, IA.

The statewide association holds its silent and live PAC auction every year

The trees’ success, as well as the record amount raised for the PAC, was a pleasant surprise for Gilbert. Clearly, his art brought out the holiday spirit in some fellow cooperative members.

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