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CO - OP LIVI NG


Sixth Cooperative Principle: Cooperation Among Cooperatives & Seventh Cooperative Principle: Concern for Community


COOPERATION AMONG COOPERATIVES: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and inter- national structures.


CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY: While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustain- able development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.


Editor’s Note: This article concludes a 2012 series created to highlight the Seven Cooperative Principles as a celebration of the International Year of Cooperatives.


Left: Chris Purdy, Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, Inc., and Erin Moore, Tri-County Electric, pretend to make a “splash” with their joint donation by pushing Rob Rixon, YMCA CEO, into the pool in Guymon. Center: The two cooperatives held communities events in 2012 in honor of the International Year of Cooperatives. Right: Jesse Peralta and his chil- dren Jasmin and Zab enjoy the International Year of Cooperatives event in Guymon. Photos courtesy of Tri-County Electric and PTCI


By Anna Politano C


ooperatives are built on the principle of cooperation. From its formation, the co- operative business model has relied on neighbors banding together for a common pur- pose. Electric cooperatives in Oklahoma are no different. In fact, all 30 electric cooperatives in the Sooner State practice the principle of Coop- eration Among Cooperatives. Among other ways, this principle comes to life through a mutual aid agreement—coordinated by the Oklahoma As- sociation of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC)—in which electric cooperatives agree to operate their own systems with a reduced force of personnel and equipment in order to help another coopera- tive during an emergency situation. Oklahoma cooperatives’ line crews gladly lend a hand to their neighbors—whether to cooperatives in Oklahoma or in other states. Multiple line crews from Oklahoma electric cooperatives have gone as far as Alabama and the Florida panhandle to help other cooperatives affected by hurricanes. Most re- cently, a total of nine electric cooperatives respond-


If viewing our digital edition, click here for a video on the impact cooperatives make in


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ed to requests to supply crews and equipment to Louisiana after Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast in August.


“You always hope your system isn’t affected by a natural disaster, but if it is, you have the assurance cooperatives around you will step up to help. And, in return, your cooperative will do the same for oth- ers in emergency situations,” Sid Sperry, OAEC’s director of public relations, communications and research said.


The principle of Cooperation Among Coopera- tives goes beyond electric cooperatives assisting each other. Cooperatives represent business entities in various sectors including housing, banking, re- tail, farming, childcare and more. In the Oklahoma panhandle, two cooperatives have joined forces to empower the communities they serve. The Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, Inc.


(PTCI) and Tri-County Electric Cooperative have teamed up for nearly fi ve years to enhance the qual- ity of life for communities in the Oklahoma pan- handle.


“Partnering with PTCI demonstrates our joint belief in the cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives,” Zac Perkins, vice president of Corporate Services at Tri-County Electric said. “The community gets to see two locally controlled entities working together to enhance the quality of life for their shared memberships. They get to see the cooperative difference magnifi ed and that we truly believe in the values we have.” Among other efforts, PTCI and Tri-County Elec- tric have joined forces to provide a donation to Prevent Blindness Oklahoma, an organization that provides free vision screenings to all the school dis- tricts in Oklahoma, including 3,735 students who were screened last year in the panhandle. The two cooperatives also provide a yearly donation to the local YMCA. In 2012, the cooperatives came togeth- er in a series of events to celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives in their local communities. “When the community sees us working togeth-


Continued on Page 6 DECEMBER 2012 5


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