Basin Electric’s vice president of government relations, Dale Niezwaag, patches up 1954 Dodge Power Wagon

The following was published by RE Magazine on July 2, 2018. An excerpt is published here, with permission. Please visit RE Magazine’s website for the full story: Old Power Wagon: Basin’s Dale Niezwaag bought some of his own history in a retired co-op truck, written by John Vanvig.

Niezwaag-and-his-dad

Basin Electric’s vice president of government relations, Dale Niezwaag, stands with his father in front of the 1954 Dodge Power Wagon.

The paint – where there’s still paint – has faded to a dull bluish-green, but the old pickup truck’s body is sound and remarkably free of dents or scratches. Some surface rust has claimed the cab roof, the hood, the distinctive flat fenders, and the running boards, and it’s spread in patches on the doors of the tool cabinets lining the box. A long, jointed boom folds from its rear mount over the cab and back again. The tread is deep on the old military-style tires.

Dale Niezwaag sees all this and much, much more when he looks at the 1954 Dodge Power Wagon he bought a few years ago from his cousin and her husband. They’d purchased it many years earlier from Turner-Hutchinson Electric Cooperative in Marion, South Dakota, right around the time it merged with a neighboring system to form Marion-based Southeastern Electric Cooperative.

“I can’t tell you what possessed me to want it,” says Niezwaag, who’s in his second year as vice president of government relations for Basin Electric Power Cooperative, the G&T based in Bismarck, North Dakota. But give him a moment, and he comes up with plenty of reasons.

Power-Wagon-sitting-alone

1954 Dodge Power Wagon, restored by Dale Niezwaag.

Niezwaag says he plans to drive the Power Wagon in small-town parades and display it at co-op annual meetings. Contemporary co-op workers, he believes, will be particularly interested in how things were done back when their grandparents built the earlier co-op lines. Keep reading…

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