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Powerful Living Kiwash Electric Cooperative


Central Rural Electric Cooperative


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“I can remember when they started building lines, that we were the fi rst house on the west side of Cotton County to have been hooked up with electricity. What a celebration! I re- member mother made angel food cakes and the neighbors coming over when they fl ipped the light on. I remember people yelling when the light came on and I was dancing around with my older brother. We really celebrated. We had lights!” - Evelyn Chavez, Cotton Electric Cooperative member


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“I think the most outstanding thing I did in my life was to be a leader in getting electricity for the rural people. I drove 1,600 miles without pay before we had a light shining. Now, every time I drive out over the country and see the lights shining, I feel I have been very well paid.” - L. E. Maupin, original organizer of Ozarks Electric Cooperative


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Rural Electric Cooperative Date of Incorporation: August 26, 1938


Beginning in 1937, farmers, ranchers and businessmen from south central


Oklahoma banded together to form Rural Electric Company, later named Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. (REC). Headquartered in Lindsay, Okla., REC was incorporated on August 26, 1938, and held its fi rst meeting on August 30 at the law offi ce of Attorney O.B. Moody. At the initial meeting, 10 incorporators and shareholders were present. From those incorporators and shareholders present, fi ve were selected as the fi rst board of directors including Miss F. Edna Simmons, REC’s fi rst female board member. REC’s fi rst loan from the REA was made March 10, 1939, in the amount of $98,000 to extend service to 97 miles of line serving 104 members. Today, REC serves 10,911 meters covering 2,893 miles of line with service in parts of six counties: Garvin, Grady, McClain, Stephens, Carter and Comanche.


Cotton Electric Cooperative Date of Incorporation: September 15, 1938


C.W. Cox, a Walters, Okla., native and radio repairman, saw rural electrifi ca-


tion as a tremendous opportunity to stimulate business, revitalize farming procedures for effi ciency and productivity, and provide home comforts. Walters businessmen, community leaders and progressive farmers banded together to explore establishing a rural electric cooperative. The project began to move in August 1938 when early leaders were joined by farmers and leaders from Stephens and Jefferson Counties. Signing up members wasn’t easy be- cause the $5 membership fee was hard to come by. Farm women played an important role in raising the money. They sold eggs and cream, chickens and turkeys, and did without necessities to accumulate the $5 fee. Cotton Electric was incorporated Sept. 15, 1938, and Cox was hired as the fi rst manager. Construction was launched June 1, 1939. Only 84 days later, Aug. 26, was declared “The Day of Light.” The switch was thrown, lighting up 150 homes along 109 miles of line. Today, Cotton Electric serves 18,139 meters along 5,128 miles of line in Cotton, Comanche, Grady, Stephens, Jefferson, Tillman, Caddo and Carter Counties.


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If viewing our digital edition, click here to watch a video on the purpose of electric cooperatives. Plus, access a bonus page of extra photos and testimonies of members who remember when the lights came on. Access our digital edition at www. ok-living.coop or fi nd our FREE app at the Apple Newsstand, Google Play or Amazon.


Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative Date of Incorporation: September 19, 1938


Northeast Oklahoma Electric was no accident; it took the foresight and determination of farmers like rural Adair, Okla., resident Howard Freeman to see the potential for the area and make a push for progress. There were 14 such individuals who came together on behalf of Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative. With the sum of $5,000 in hand, they applied for incorporation on September 19, 1938. The Grand River Dam Authority in Craig County energized the cooperative’s fi rst lines in 1940 and the fi rst substation was con- structed that same year in the Mayes County community of Wauhillau. Thirteen others joined Freeman when he applied for incorporation. Seventy- fi ve years later, Northeast Electric members salute these individuals for bringing the light and helping establish the foundation for a strong distribution electric cooperative with a proud legacy of service in northeast Oklahoma. The coop- erative provides service to more than 43,000 meters across 5,275 miles of line in Craig, Delaware, Ottawa, and Mayes Counties.


Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative Date of Incorporation: October 24, 1938


On October 14, 1938, a Collinsville, Okla., welder and mechanic Roy Wilson met in the high school auditorium with local residents to discuss the benefi ts of bringing electricity to areas without electric service. From that meeting, Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative (VVEC) was born, with Articles of Incorporation granted on October 24, 1938. Construction began with the fi rst pole set west of the Twin Bridge Corner near Ramona, Okla. The co-op’s fi rst substation was in the Ramona area as well. That 211-mile line brought electric- ity to 625 members. Today, VVEC is Oklahoma’s third largest cooperative. A nine-member board of trustees governs the co-op. Headquarters remain in Collinsville, along with warehouse and maintenance facilities in Nowata, Okla., and Bartlesville, Okla. VVEC serves more than 26,000 members through more than 35,000 meters, 21 substations and almost 4,700 miles of electric line in the Tulsa, Osage, Washington, Nowata and Rogers Counties.


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