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COM M E NTARY


Your Cooperative and You E


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


very year in October, we highlight the cooperative differ- ence through articles and information similar to what you read in this month’s Oklahoma Living. It’s a never-ending edu- cation effort that we undertake because it’s important for you as a member to un-


derstand the benefi ts of membership and the important role that you play in the success of your co-op. I am going to focus on how co-ops afford you the opportunity to be more than just a consumer of electricity. Seventy-fi ve years ago when electric cooperatives were forming, members were very engaged. They not only organized the co-op, they participated in meeting the challenges of building the utility that dramatically improved their standard of living and had a tremendous positive economic impact in their communities.


Today, most of us take our electric service for


granted. We don’t know and can’t imagine a life without it. With busy lives, and daily challenges of our own, it has understandably become very easy


n this month’s is- sue of Oklahoma Living magazine, you’ll find separate stories that deal with two very significant historical events that had great impacts on Oklahoma.


I


Glenn Propps President,


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


On Page 22 is a story about the Dust Bowl, one of the worst environmental disas- ters ever to besiege


parts of North America. Coupled with the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl brought about the largest ever ‘out migration’ of Oklahomans, most ending up scratching out a meager existence in California.


The second story, found on Page 18, is about several electric cooperatives that are celebrating 75 years of service to their member-owners. At least nine co-ops had their beginnings in 1937, almost in the middle of the Dust Bowl period, and toward the end of The Great Depression. What do these two events have in common? Three words come to mind: Grit. Determination. Resolve.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt certainly 4 OKLAHOMA LIVING


to be a disengaged member. Yes, the hard work of getting lights to everyone is done. However, your co-op continues to face many diffi cult and com- plex challenges to maintaining affordable and reli- able power and it still depends on the membership to meet those challenges.


A small number of your co-op’s membership serves on the board as directors. This is the high- est level of member involvement you can achieve. These members, elected by you, often spend years acquiring board certifi cations and learning about the industry. A larger number of you are engaged enough that you know your elected director, dis- cuss the issues, express your concerns, and actively participate in the election process. An even larger number of you engage by attending your annual meeting where the business of the co-op requiring membership action is conducted. And of course, far more members are very happy to disengage completely and allow others to conduct the busi- ness of their co-op—and that is fi ne too as long as you don’t forget that you have every right to get involved. The decision is yours.


If you are not attending your district and annu- al meetings I encourage you to do so. I think you will fi nd them enjoyable and interesting. Always remember that your electric cooperative was built by the membership for the membership and that it will always continue to rely on its members. OL


When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going


couldn’t do much about the lingering drought that plagued the nation’s midsection for more than eight years running. But what he could do —and did—was set up programs that would prove life-saving to rural Americans.


Soil conservation practices were enacted over much of north Texas, the Oklahoma panhandle, eastern Colorado, western Kansas, and western Nebraska—the heart of the Dust Bowl. ‘Shelter belts’ were created by planting millions of trees, thus helping reduce soil erosion. And, beginning in 1936, electric co-ops began delivering electric power and modern convenienc- es to sparsely populated rural areas. Times were tough; but, as the saying goes, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get go- ing.’ And that is exactly what scores of pioneering farmers, ranchers and rural business people did, signing up hundreds of members who had high hopes of ‘seeing the lights come on.’ Any successful endeavor, no matter what its origin—public or private—requires grit, determi- nation and resolve. Your local electric cooperative continues to incorporate those core values into its service practices still today, many celebrating 75 years on the job.


Our resolve will always be about powering the needs of new generations. OL


Follow OKL:


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . General Manager Glenn Propps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .President Joe Harris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vice-President Jimmy Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Secretary-Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Managing Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Larry Skoch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advertising Manager lskoch@ok-living.coop


Christy Johnson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Offi ce Manager cjohnson@oaec.coop


Kirbi Bailey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kbailey@oaec.coop Hayley Imel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Multimedia Specialist himel@ok-living.coop Meg McElhaney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Intern intern@ok-living.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309 Phone (405) 478-1455 Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop


Subscriptions


$3.12 per year for rural electric cooperative members. $6.00 per year for non-members.


Cooperative Members:: Report change of ad- dress to your local rural electric cooperative. Non-Cooperative Members: Send address changes to Oklahoma Living, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Oklahoma Living (ISSN 1064-8968), USPS 407-040, is published monthly for consumer-members of Oklahoma’s rural electric cooperatives by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Coopera- tives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Circulation this issue: 316,718 Periodical postage paid at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives is a statewide service organization for the following electric cooperatives: Alfalfa, Arkansas Valley, Caddo, Canadian Valley, Central Rural, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, Kiwash, Lake Region, Northeast Oklahoma, Northfork, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ozarks, People’s, Red River Valley, Rural, Southeastern, Southwest Rural, Tri-County, Verdigris Valley, and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.


Audit


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