Meet Lane Electric’s Veteran Employees

Lane Electric salutes U.S. Army veterans Dennis Morgan and Ryan Doak for their service

By Craig Reed

Ryan Doak, left, is Lane Electric’s warehouse storekeeper. Dennis Morgan is the co-op’s utility cost accountant. Photo by Brenda Everts

When Veterans Day comes around every November 11, Dennis Morgan remembers the soldiers he served with in the Army. He reaches out to them with a phone call or text to catch up on how their lives are going.

On that day of honor for those who have or are currently serving in the U.S. military, Ryan Doak says he is reminded of the those who have sacrificed to maintain freedom and the American way of life.

Dennis and Ryan are both U.S. Army veterans and employees of Lane Electric Cooperative.

Dennis, 40, has been with the co-op almost two years, working as a utility cost accountant. Ryan, 36, began his job as warehouse storekeeper 15 months ago.

Both men say they enjoyed their time in the Army.

“It was an opportunity to serve my country,” Ryan says of his enlistment in 2008. “Everything I’ve done in the military I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.”

He joined the Army because it allowed him to pick what he wanted to do.

“I wanted training toward engineering, training that would benefit me later in the civilian sector,” Ryan says.

After 15 weeks of basic training, advanced individual training, and battle-focused training, Ryan was assigned to the 46th Engineer Battalion. His unit was deployed to Iraq for eight months between late 2008 and early 2009. The unit transported equipment and supplies.

Dennis also enlisted in 2008. He says he was tired of doing physical work. He had worked for his father’s janitorial business, as a regional distribution manager for a bakery company, and as owner of a delivery company.

When the economy crashed in 2008, Dennis decided he wanted a college education. He says the best way to finance that was through military service.

He considered the Marines, but ended up joining the Army, again because that branch allowed him to pick his own job. Dennis was interested in being either a medic or a military policeman. Because color blindness prevented him from being an MP, he opted for medical training.

“I really enjoyed that,” he says. “It was easy to remember because I found it very interesting.”

Dennis was assigned to an arms battalion and was in the process of pre-deployment training when he suffered a ruptured disk. He was disappointed the injury kept him from deploying and supporting soldiers he had gotten to know.

“That’s not what I wanted,” Dennis says. “It was a feeling of letting those guys down after training with them for two months.”

He was assigned to a desk job and medically discharged in 2012, cutting short his plan of 20 years of military service.

Ryan returned safely from his deployment. After being discharged, he signed up for the National Guard and worked for Lane Electric Cooperative in a veterans experience work program. He worked with crews as a groundman for three months and in the warehouse for five months.

From there, he worked for an electrical contractor and the Eugene Water & Electric Board.

As a Guard member, he was deployed to the Middle East for nine months between 2019 and 2020. With two months of his deployment left, he had a long-distance interview with Lane Electric and was hired to the warehouse position.

“That was pretty cool of Lane Electric,” he says.

Ryan is now a staff sergeant in the Guard. He attends training one weekend a month and during a two-week session each year. He plans to stay in the Guard another 6 1/2 years to complete 20 years of service and earn full medical benefits.

Dennis attended Grand Canyon University in Arizona after his service. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting. After moving back to Oregon in 2017, Dennis finished his master’s degree in accounting in 2018.

He worked as a budget analyst for two years, but “I wasn’t an actual accountant,” he says.

Following the advice of his father, he interviewed for an accounting position with Lane Electric and was hired at the end of 2019.

“My dad told me for years and years to get on with a utility company because they’re great to work with and they offer great benefits,” Dennis says.

Dennis grew up in Eugene and now lives in Springfield with his wife, Teresa, and son, Jonah. The couple awaits the November birth of a daughter, Leah.

Ryan grew up in the Jasper area east of Springfield. He and his wife, Megan Doak, live in Marcola with their daughters, Camryn and Claire, and their sons, Aidan and Kahne.

When Veterans Day rolls around, Dennis says it is a happy day and a sad day—happy because veterans are honored and celebrated, but sad because of those who lost their lives or were injured during their service.