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Commentary International program brings light to nations S


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


eventy-five years ago, rural Oklahoma was vastly different than


it is today. Farmers, ranchers and rural dwellers worked arduously to carry out their daily tasks. Unlike residents living in urban areas, the ru- ral population did not enjoy


the conveniences and better quality of life found in larger cities—they did not have electricity. It took President Franklin Roosevelt’s vision in establishing the Rural Electrifi cation Act of 1935— coupled with the people’s determination—to bring electric power to rural America. Men and women came together to form electric cooperatives to pow- er their farms and change the quality of life of fu- ture generations. Today, we are reaping the benefi ts of their commitment, hard work and dedication. However, there are rural communities in other nations still living without electricity. The NRECA International Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, reports 1.6 billion people in the world do not have access to electric power. It is a harsh reality, but it is the way of life for many families across the globe. Electric cooperatives, both in Oklahoma and


nationwide, are proud supporters of the mission behind NRECA’s International programs. For more than 50 years, NRECA International has provided people in developing countries with access to safe, reliable and affordable electricity. These electrifi cation programs have resulted in in- creased agricultural productivity, new jobs, better incomes and improved quality of life for rural com- munities in more than 42 countries around the world. In this edition of Oklahoma Living, you will read a story on Page 12 about recent projects that took place in the country of Guatemala. As a result of these trips alone, 770 individuals received electric power for the fi rst time. NRECA International operates fi eld offi ces in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Philippines, Southern Sudan and Yemen, and it maintains its home offi ce at NRECA’s headquarters in Arlington, Va. Linemen, safety directors and engineers give of their time to travel to these countries to help bring light to remote villages. It is a rewarding experience that will forever change their lives.


Pioneers here at home were leaders in improving our quality of life 75 years ago. Today, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives continue this tradition by em- powering the local communities they serve, but also by empowering our neighbors abroad.


Co-ops work together to accomplish much T


Jimmy Taylor President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


heodore Roosevelt once said, “The most important sin- gle ingredient in the


formula of success is knowing how to get along with peo- ple.” Now to me, if you had to sum it up in one word, that quote sounds a whole lot like “cooperation.”


In the mid 1930s, cities had been receiving elec-


tricity for years. Investor-owned utilities had deemed small communities and rural areas as un- profi table and refused to serve them. The residents of these areas could not get electricity by them- selves. However, when they cooperated and worked together, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives were formed.


In their early days, co-ops began supplying their members with electric power purchased from out- side sources. This sometimes proved to be very costly. As a solution, distribution electric coopera- tives—not only in Oklahoma but nationwide— formed generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives to supply the power needs of rural electric co-op members. G&Ts improved the reli- ability and cost of the power co-ops distributed to their member-owners. Collectively, co-ops realized there were issues at


4 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


the State Capitol that affect you as a co-op member. Understanding that each individual co-op has a small voice, cooperatives in Oklahoma cooperated and formed the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) or the “Statewide.” OAEC enables our 30 Oklahoma co-ops to have a much larger voice in dealing with issues of importance to cooperative members. We know issues affecting co-op consumer-mem- bers are not limited to the state level; there are im- portant issues on the national level that have the potential to impact rural electric member-owners as well. To ensure we have representation when deal- ing with national issues, co-ops from across the na- tion cooperated and formed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to rep- resent you at the nation’s capital. Cooperatives were built on founding principles that are the foundation for the co-op business mod- el. The sixth principle “Cooperation Among Cooperatives,” is a vital component of our co-ops’ success and vitality. We have been successful be- cause we have worked with each other and with other organizations to achieve our goals. I believe Mr. Roosevelt was on to something—and so are we. Together, powering the needs of new gen- erations by empowering our local communities is the heart of each electric co-op in Oklahoma.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers, General Manager Jimmy Taylor, President


Kendall Beck, Vice-President Gary McCune, Secretary Scott Copeland, Treasurer


Staff


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


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


Daniel Yates, Advertising Manager dyates@ok-living.coop


Christy Johnson, Offi ce Manager cjohnson@oaec.coop


Kirbi Mills, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kmills@oaec.coop


Hayley Leatherwood, Multimedia Specialist hleatherwood@ok-living.coop


Alexis Mellons, Advertising Intern adintern@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


address 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 Cooperatives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road,


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309. Circulation this issue: 316,614


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.


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