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Commentary Helping Neighbors Through Foundations O


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


ne of the core principles co- operatives are grounded in is


“Concern for Commu- nity.” Extending a hand to those in need is not a foreign concept to your electric co-op. It’s no dif- ferent at the Oklahoma


Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) —a service association voluntarily supported by Oklahoma’s electric distribution and generation & transmission cooperatives. We are proud to have established two not-for-profi t, 501(c)3 foun- dations designated to provide relief funds and to empower communities. Contributions to these funds are tax-deductible and anyone is welcome to contribute at any time. The Touchstone Energy Oklahoma Disaster


Relief Fund was established in 2013 to provide fi nancial assistance to co-op members who expe- rienced devastating damage in the aftermath of severe weather. When EF5 tornadoes ravaged through Oklahoma that year, the co-op family rose to the occasion and generously raised over $485,000 to assist impacted families and busi- nesses. Recently, co-op employees in Louisiana


experienced extensive damage to homes and busi- nesses due to historic fl ooding. We were able to send fi nancial relief assistance to the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives to help in the recovery from these fl ooding events. This year, the OAEC Board of Trustees ap- proved the formation of the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation. This came as a result of Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives embracing their fi rst international electrifi cation project. Through the Energy Trails project, Oklahoma and Missouri volunteers built powerlines to bring electricity for the fi rst time to more than 360 families in the remote, Amazonian area of Bolivia. This experi- ence was life-changing to all involved. As we look to the future, we see more opportunities to utilize these funds for future international projects or for local needs the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation Board might deem appropriate. We are grateful for the opportunity to have these foundations available. They reinforce the core purpose of the electric cooperative program: neighbors helping neighbors. To those who have given, we extend our heartfelt gratitude. To those who consider giving, we thank you in advance for your generosity. There is no doubt these funds will be utilized to make someone’s future bright- er.


Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/OAECGiving Take Time to Honor Veterans I


Gary McCune President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


4


n this issue of Oklaho- ma Living we take the opportunity to honor our veterans. It is al- ways appropriate that we acknowledge the contribu- tions so many have made to ensure the freedoms and quality of life we en- joy today.


I am thankful our nation has come around and realizes the importance of our military and the sacrifi ces they and their families make to keep us safe. Sadly, that has not always been the case. Being in high school and college during the ‘60s, like many of you, I witnessed protests; I have personally witnessed a disrespect for the military, our fl ag, the country and traditional val- ues that formed the foundations of our country. The veterans who served during the Vietnam


confl ict did not receive the adoration and respect they had earned upon their return to the United States. The scorn that many of them received upon their return cannot be totally soothed with the attention that those serving today receive. But thankfully, we may have learned from that experience and will not repeat the mistakes of the past. To read a powerful example of some of the


life-changing sacrifi ces armed forces heroes have made, I encourage you to read our cover feature this month on Page 12 highlighting the Wounded Warrior Project. Regardless of where, when or how you served our country, we want to acknowledge your ser- vice. We are safer and our nation is more fortu- nate because you did your part. Hopefully, those of us here will always do ours to support you. I invite you to honor and salute those who have served and those who are currently serving.


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Chris Meyers, General Manager Gary McCune, President


Scott Copeland, Vice-President Larry Hicks, Secretary Tim Smith, Treasurer


Staff


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


Anna Politano, Editor editor@ok-living.coop


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


Shannen McCroskey, Marketing Specialist smccroskey@ok-living.coop


Kirbi Mills, Director of Admin. Services kmills@oaec.coop


Hillary Barrow, Admin. Services Assistant hbarrow@oaec.coop


Amanda Lester, Editorial Intern intern@oaec.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154 Phone (405) 478-1455


Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop Subscriptions


$3.48 per year for rural electric cooperative members.


$7 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: 323,706


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, Canadian Valley, Central,


Choctaw, Cimarron, CKenergy, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, 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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