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With OAEC’s Mutual Aid Plan, the costs are previously established and agreed upon. These savings are beneficial to member-owners. “The Mutual Aid Plan is a true benefit,” Alfalfa Electric Cooperative Manager Colin Whitley says. “None of us can afford to maintain the staff you need when responding to an outage disaster.” In disaster situations, time is money. Whitley


says the cooperative will invest time in ensuring external contract crews meet all insurance re- quirements. In using cooperative crews through Mutual Aid, that is a key item that has been pre- defined in the agreements. The time saved allows for a smoother process in getting crews out in the field. Whitley says he is always amazed at his mem-


bership’s positive and supportive attitudes during outages, but that it helps to see crews in the field making progress as they can. “Our members see all the different trucks with other co-op logos on them rolling in to help, and they know cooperatives clearly cooperate togeth- er,” Whitley says. “Co-op linemen crave the feeling that we are truly helping someone who needs help,” Guffey says.


“Co-op linemen crave the feeling that we are truly


helping someone who needs help.” - Kenny Guffey, OAEC


Making a Lasting Impact


Linemen often share stories of how the mem- bership in different service territories makes them feel like they have found a second home. “When working with other co-ops, I find peo- ple are all the same—we just live in different plac- es,” Chris Bailey, Cimarron Electric Cooperative journeyman lineman says. Cooperatives receiving assistance will provide


the other cooperatives all the information, maps and technical guidance necessary during their stay. Guffey says each co-op is assigned a local representative, nicknamed a “bird dog,” to fur- ther guide the mutual aid crews.


Garry Kirkpatrick, Cimarron Electric


Cooperative lineman, says the relationship with the bird dog, often a local lineman, quickly be- comes a communication between brothers. “Even if you’ve never met one another, it’s not long until you have a brother you didn’t know you had,” Kirkpatrick says. “Lineman work is all about brotherhood.” Justin Glazier, Cimarron Electric Cooperative director of safety and compliance, says the OAEC Mutual Aid plan is not only beneficial for Oklahoma electric cooperatives, but there is also cooperation between states. “Most all lineman, even from other states, they


are the same at heart. They take pride in their work and enjoy going to help,” Glazier says. Back in 2005, Cimarron Electric Cooperative sent a crew to help restore power following Hurricane Katrina. Oklahoma crews encountered swampy terrain and coastal conditions, but they also made lifetime bonds. From classic Cajun cooking to an after-hours alligator hunt led by their bird dog, their shared time together will not be soon forgotten. “We all work well together because we’re all trying to serve the members,” Bailey says.


SHOW THEM CARE.


Consumers rely on us to produce quality pork in a responsible manner, so it’s important they know the principles that guide pork producers – like our commitment to the environment. Everyone involved in pork production – from farm owners to animal caretakers – has an obligation to safeguard natural resources and protect the quality of our land.


Let’s show the world how much we care. Visit www.pork.org to learn more about best practices in environmental stewardship.


©2015. Funded by America’s Pork Producers and the Pork Checkoff.


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