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on Round-Up arding for Baker


A few days later, I called her and asked her if she wanted to get married. She told me she was on her way. We’ve been married 46 years.”


The Bakers have two daughters, Wadonna and Michelle, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren—with another on the way.


Life is good and O. D. says he has much for which to be thankful.


OPERATION ROUND-UP Opera on Round-Up has given away $2,240,653 in the nearly seventeen years that it has been in existence. That’s right— well over $2 million dollars.


With all of that money to talk about, it’s easy to forget that the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Coopera ve benevolent program owes its success to PEOPLE. There are people—coopera ve members—who contribute to Opera on Round-Up by allowing their monthly electric bill to be rounded up to the nearest dollar. There are also people who apply for the grants and make sure the money is put to good use.


At the very heart of the program are nine individuals who oversee this process by ensuring that the money is matched with recipients where it will do the most good. These nine individuals make up the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Coopera ve Trust Founda on, also known as Opera on Round-Up, board of directors. O. D. Baker is one of two individuals who have been on the board since the incep on of the program in 1998. Baker has been the president of this board since day one. His keen judgment and sense of compassion make him the perfect individual to lead the group.


“Charlo e Corle and I were both on the board when it was fi rst organized,” he said. “The group elected me president and I’ve held that offi ce ever since.”


The nine Trust Founda on directors have developed a close bond with one another over the years. Baker represents District 8 and Corle , a Vinita resident, represents District 4. The remaining seven individuals on the Trust Founda on board are: Randy Parmley of Wyando e (District 1), Mark Stunkard of Fairland (District 2), Bob Eubanks of Welch (District 3), Sandy Hunt of A on (District 5), Norma Kinion of Adair (District 6), John Baumert of Locust Grove (District 7) and Mike Teel of Grove (District 9).


The group has lost some close friends who have served on the board over the years. Three former directors, including Terry Sixkiller, Don Boye and Janet Kleeman, have passed away.


“We are a very close-knit bunch,” Baker said of the group. “The nine of us who are on there are very much like a family. We care about one another and work well together.”


Baker said each member of the board takes the responsibility seriously.


“I don’t spend my money foolishly, and I do the same for the people we represent.”


He added: “A lot of  mes we’ll go into the community and talk to the people who submit an applica on. That gives us insight on what they want to do and why they need the money. If the need is there and we have the funds, we are going to do our best to help. We screen each of those applica ons and give each request a lot of considera on. It can be diffi cult. There are tough decisions that must be made. O en, more money is requested than what can be granted. It is hard when you don’t have enough money to go around.”


O. D. has many success stories to share from his years on the Opera on Round-Up Trust Founda on board. One in par cular he will never forget is when assistance was awarded to a lady who could not aff ord


Story and photo Clint Branham


Communica ons Specialist


the pump equipment needed to deliver a fresh, clean water supply into her home.


“I went to her home and the water inside her home at that  me was black,” said Baker. “I am not sure how she ever drank it. She had a well, but she did not have money for a pump and a system to supply fresh water. That was one of the most gra fying grants we ever awarded.”


O. D. admits he was skep cal about joining the Trust Founda on board when fi rst asked.


“When I was fi rst approached about joining the board, I really didn’t have any interest in it at all. A er I saw how we could help the communi es that we serve, I agreed. Of course, I sure didn’t know I would serve for 16 plus years. We don’t get any pay for it, but it is a great reward. It is one of most gra fying things I’ve ever done in my life.”


Directly or indirectly, everyone in northeast Oklahoma has been impacted by Opera on Round-Up. Perhaps you were helped or know someone who received assistance. Maybe your local fi re department or police sta on received money to purchase equipment that may help save a life.


“It benefi ts a lot of people and all it costs each member is just a few pennies a month,” Baker said. “As far as I’m concerned, Opera on Round-Up is one of the greatest things that the coopera ve has ever done. They should never let it go. If people can only see how much good it does. I know I will serve on this board as long as God allows.”


To make sure you are par cipa ng, call 1-800-256-6405 and speak to a member services representa ve. 


August 2015 - 13


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