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Co-ops have a mission of light

Chris Meyers

The rural electrification movement originated from the desire to improve the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Today, we benefit from modern-day conveniences such as running water, air conditioning, heating, gadgets, appliances and more. Rural communities have flourished with economic opportunity, access to health care, transportation infrastructure, quality education and technological advancements. It was not always like that. 

Eighty years ago, rural Oklahoma was in the dark. Through the hard work and cooperation of pioneers, electric cooperatives were formed, empowering rural America. As co-op members, we now enjoy the fruits of their labor. There are others, however, who have not been as fortunate. 

The International Energy Agency reports 1.2 billion people—or 16 percent of the world population—live without electricity today. In the spirit of cooperation, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are partnering with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) philanthropic arm, NRECA International, to bring electricity to an isolated village in Guatemala. As you are reading this edition of Oklahoma Living, 13 volunteers are leaving for Guatemala to build power lines and electrify 80 homes in the village of Chiis. Volunteer linemen, engineers and electricians are eager to help those families have light for the first time and achieve a better quality of life. 

To help further this cause, the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives formed a 501(c)3, the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation. We encourage co-op members throughout the state to be a part of this journey by contributing a tax-deductible gift to this fund. We can’t bring electricity to all 1.2 billion people, but we can do our part in helping others to improve their lives. After all, where would we be if someone else had not invested in us? 

Join the journey at http:/tinyurl.com/energytrails