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Powerful Living


AVAILABLE NOW


Oklahoma’s state and federal elected officials at your fingertips.


Give me light, so I can see Editor’s Words D


FREE, EASY, INTERACTIVE SEARCH “OAEC 55TH” IN YOUR APP STORE


o you know someone who is legally blind? I had a friend in college who was blind. The more I spent time with him, the more I ad- mired how he coped with his blindness. Even though he would miss out on some joys and opportu- nities possible through the ability to see, he was deter- mined to press on and live life to the fullest. Recently, I had the honor to travel to Bolivia with a group of Oklahoma and Missouri electric cooperative volunteers. Our national trade association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and its philanthropic organization— NRECA International Foundation—coordinate electrifi cation projects in remote areas of developing countries where electricity has never been acces- sible. While Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have contributed with resourc- es for projects in the past, we have never sent a team of volunteers to electrify a remote area.


Anna Politano Editor,


Oklahoma Living


DETAILED LIVE PROFILES | INTERACTIVE MAPS FEATURED RESOURCES:


LEARN MORE AT WWW.OAEC.COOP


I’m happy to share the year of 2016 will see Oklahoma’s fi rst set of volun- teer linemen traveling to the developing country of Bolivia to help electrify villages. An initial team went in early February to assess the area of the project and coordinate resources with the local electric cooperative. The construc- tion phase of the project will take place this summer when volunteer linemen will spend two weeks in northern Bolivia building powerlines. At the end of the project, 361 families will have electricity for the fi rst time. Their lives will be radically transformed. During the initial trip, I had the pleasure to meet a local community leader, Ana Maria. She’s the president of her neighborhood’s association, Dos de Junio. While talking to Ana Maria about living life without electricity, she said not having power is comparable to being blind. I thought it was a cruel analogy, but it was her reality. When the sun is down, her family and neigh- bors rely on candlesticks or kerosene lamps for some form of light. Rural Oklahoma experienced this reality before; in the 1930s and 1940s, farmers and ranchers banded together to bring light to their communities, opening the door to a brighter future. For those who are blind, the harsh reality is that their blindness may not be reversible; that is not the case for Ana Maria and her neighbors. They will see a brighter day. My conversation with her was a defi ning moment. Her words deeply im- pacted me. In that life-changing dialogue, I was reminded why I’m passionate to serve in the electric cooperative industry. Electric co-ops don’t stop with the delivery of electric power, they’re driven to make a difference in the lives of those they serve. I’m thankful for the ability to see and live by this pur-


pose.


WATCH! Learn more about this electrifi cation project at:


MARCH 2016 www.energytrails.wordpress.com


To learn more about the work of NRECA’s International Foundation visit our digital edition at www.ok-living.coop or click on the icon to access the video when viewing this edition online. You can also access our free app on Apple and Android devices. Look for Oklahoma Living magazine.


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