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President’s Message

Jimmy Taylor President, Board of Trustees

As I was walking through my house this morning I passed by the painting on the wall, just as I do every morning.

Although it looked colorful in the morning light, it is just an average watercolor painting. To any other person it would be just that- an average painting, but it is special to me. It had belonged to my grandmother. But how she ac- quired this painting is, as they say, “the rest of the story.”

In 1939 Granddad was attend- ing a meeting in a large city. In the afternoon a Bridge game was arranged to entertain the ladies while the meeting was taking place. Grandmother had never played much Bridge but she was fortunate that day and won.

The top four finishers were al-

lowed to choose prizes. The top three prizes were an electric iron, an electric coffee pot and an elec- tric toaster. The fourth choice was a simple watercolor painting. Since Grandmother had won first place, she got to choose first. She

walked right by the electric appli- ances and chose the painting.

The lady in charge of the event questioned her choice. She re- minded Grandmother that she had first pick and asked if she wouldn’t rather have one of those nice, new electric appliances. My grandmother’s reply was that the appliances were nice but they would not do her any good be- cause she lived in the country and therefore did not have electricity.

You see, the other ladies lived in cities and had had the luxury of electricity for several years. They took it for granted that most peo- ple did but that was not the case. Rural America had been left out.

The investor owned utilities

who were serving the cities at the time refused to serve our rural communities because they could not make enough profit. Thank

goodness the people in rural America would not accept this. With financing from REA they organized into cooperatives and built the lines themselves.

The REA (RUS as it is now called) still plays a vital role in the quality of life in rural areas. It is through loan funds from the RUS that electric coops such as Northfork are able to construct and maintain their distribution systems. These funds contribute to the affordability and reliability of your power.

Since these loans are paid back with interest by the coop borrow- ers, the RUS program is one of the few federal programs that ac- tually makes money for the U.S. Treasury. In fact the RUS Electric Loan Program is projected to earn more than 100 million dollars for the federal government in Fiscal Year 2012.

You would think that especially

in a year that we are running such high federal deficits, it would make sense to leave one of the few profitable programs alone. But as

I hope your schedule will allow

you to attend our 72nd Annual meeting on August 20, 2011. I look forward to seeing you there.

usual that doesn’t seem to be the case. It looks like we will be fight- ing both a reduction in funding and restrictions on the loan funds.

Hopefully common sense will

prevail and the RUS Electric Loan Program will remain the same as it has been for the last few years. Just as the loan funds from the REA were extremely important in get- ting electricity to rural America – loan funds from the RUS are very important in keeping your elec- tricity reliable and affordable.

The painting on my wall is spe- cial to me. It is special because it was my grandmother’s but it is also special because it reminds me of the people of that era who would not accept their circumstances, instead choosing to do something about them. We owe these people a debt of gratitude for their de- termination and foresight. By the way, my grandparents finally re- ceived electricity in 1946.

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