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The Cooperative Way Co-ops unite people to solve local problems


W hen your


electric co-op was founded


in 1940, rural areas had a major problem. They lacked access to electricity, so a group of local folks set out to form a cooperative solution. At the same time, people in rural communities throughout the U.S. were doing the same thing, creating rural electric


a great solution for many families with parents who work outside the home.


BY TERRY MATLOCK cHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER


cooperatives. Interestingly, folks in urban areas were also forming co-ops—not electric or farm co-ops, but credit unions and housing co-ops.


During the Great Depression, banks didn’t have much interest in extending credit to people of modest means, so people did the same thing as the founders of Choctaw Electric. They got together with their friends and neighbors, collected a $5 membership fee (and remember in the 1930s, five bucks was real money) and formed more than 23,000 credit unions. They solved their problem with a cooperative solution. Today, mostly due to mergers between credit unions, there are about 6,800 credit unions with nearly 100 million members.


Meanwhile, in New York City, folks needed to find safe and affordable housing. So, what was the answer? Form a housing co-op. Today, there are more than 3,000 housing co-ops nationwide.


Is reliable child care a concern? There are more than 1,000 pre- school cooperatives operating in the U.S. These co-ops have been


Perhaps you own a small business and are looking to lower the cost of the goods you sell, or maybe you are one of 50,000 small business owners who belong to a purchasing co-op. Through cooperatives, small locally owned businesses are able to compete against


big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot. The Small Business Administrations tells us that dollars spent locally stay in the community six times longer than dollars spent at stores owned outside the community.


What do all these businesses have in common? Local people coming together to solve a problem with a cooperative solution. One reason co-ops are popular in so many different industries is they answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” while providing a solution that also serves “we,” the community.


As you consider this, think about what your electric co-op has accomplished over the past 75 years. From electric lights and refrigeration to wireless Internet, affordable housing, energy efficiency loans, and in-ground storm shelters, Choctaw Electric has made it its mission to improve the quality of life for our members and our rural communities.


Choctaw Electric Cooperative BOARD OF TRUSTEES


Mike Bailey, President Bob Hodge, Vice President


Rodney Lovitt , Secretary Treasurer MEMBERS


Bill McCain Henry Baze Bob Holley


Buddy Anderson Joe Briscoe


Larry Johnson MANAGEMENT AND STAFF


Terry Matlock, Chief Executive Officer Susan G. Wall, Executive Assistant Jia Johnson, Director of Public Relations Tonia Allred, Benefits Specialist


Jimmie K. Ainsworth, Director of Finance and Accounting


Jim Malone, Director of Operations Darrell Ward, District Supervisor


HUGO OFFICE PO Box 758 Hwy 93 North


Hugo, Oklahoma 74743


Toll Free: (800) 780-6486 Local: (580) 326-6486 FAX (580) 326-2492


Monday-Friday • 8 am - 5 pm IDABEL OFFICE


2114 SE Washington Idabel, Oklahoma 74745


Toll Free: (800) 780-6486 Local: (580) 286-7155


Monday-Friday • 8 am - 5 pm


ANTLERS OFFICE HC 67 Box 62


Antlers, Oklahoma 74523 (One mile east of Antlers)


Toll Free: (800) 780-6486 Local: (580) 298-3201


Monday-Friday • 8 am - 5 pm On the Web:


www.choctawelectric.coop


24 Hour Outage Hotline 800-780-6486


inside•your•co-op | 3


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