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OAEC Announces Energy Trails Electrification Project Volunteers

March 21, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) is pleased to announce the selection of seven volunteers who will serve on the Energy Trails Electrification Project that will take place later this year in the country of Bolivia.

Jeremy Baker, Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative (Stigler, Okla.); Stacy Bourne, East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Okmulgee, Okla.); Jason Brown, Rural Electric Cooperative (Lindsey, Okla.); Larry Cisneros, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Vinita, Okla.); Derec Janaway, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (Norman, Okla.); Damon Lester, Indian Electric Cooperative (Cleveland, Okla.); and Heath Martin, Northfork Electric Cooperative (Sayre, Okla.) were selected on Friday, March 18. In the event a selected candidate is unable to travel, two alternates were designated: David Sheets, TCEC (Hooker, Okla.) and Andrew Pool, Central Rural Electric Cooperative (CREC). Wade Hurst, OAEC loss control instructor, will serve as team leader.

The OAEC International Committee, comprised of trustees from the statewide association board, received 39 applications from linemen, electricians and engineers representing 17 out of 27 distribution systems in the state.

"We were very excited with the number of applications we received for this first project. Each candidate was excellent," Jimmy Taylor, International Committee chairman, said. "Due to the tremendous response, we will continue to seek opportunities to serve on international projects through the NRECA International Foundation."

The Energy Trails project marks the first electrification project sponsored by Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives. OAEC is joining forces with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) to electrify two remote villages in northern Bolivia. Seven volunteers, plus one safety director will represent Oklahoma in the project that is slated for the period of August 1 to August 17, 2016.

“Rural electric cooperatives are known for bringing power to areas that would not otherwise enjoy electricity,” Chris Meyers, OAEC general manager, said. “It’s rewarding to know we will play a part in making a difference in the lives of families who are striving for a better quality of life.”

The project is possible through the coordination and leadership of NRECA International Foundation, the philanthropic arm for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association based in Arlington, Va.

For questions, contact Anna Politano, Project Communicator, at 405-478-1455 or apolitano@oaec.coop.