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Electric Cooperatives of Oklahoma Send Volunteer Linemen to Electrify Remote Guatemalan Village

October 10, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY – Thirteen co-op volunteer linemen depart the country today for Guatemala. There they will build powerlines in the isolated village of Chiis located in the northwestern part of the country, and provide first-time electricity to about 80 families.

Electric cooperatives have a long-standing tradition of bringing lights where there are none. In a spirit of cooperation, the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) partnered with NRECA International, the philanthropic arm for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), to electrify this poverty-stricken village in rural Guatemala.

The volunteers will stay at a training center near the village. The project will consist of approximately 1.74 miles of primary line and 1.2 miles of secondary line. The village is isolated, economically vulnerable, and mainly produces beans, spices and corn for self-consumption. Most villagers speak a Mayan-based dialect, Kekchi. A local utility, ADECORK, will generate power to the village by way of a small hydroelectric plant. Volunteers are scheduled to return to the U.S. on October 28, 2017.

“Bringing electricity to remote areas in developing countries takes electric cooperatives back to their roots,” says OAEC General Manager Chris Meyers. “It reinforces our commitment to improve the quality of life for local communities at home and abroad.”

The following volunteers left today to serve on this project: Jason Blalock (Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative, Stigler-Okla.), Jason Childress (East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Okmulgee-Okla.), Jake Collier (Northwestern Electric Cooperative, Woodward-Okla.), Daniel Franco (Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative, Seminole-Okla.), Darren Frazier (Choctaw Electric Cooperative, Hugo-Okla.), Heath Gossen (CKenergy Electric Cooperative, Binger-Okla.), Team Leader Damon Lester (Indian Electric Cooperative, Cleveland-Okla.), Tim Jenlink (Alfalfa Electric Cooperative, Cherokee-Okla.), Rodney Johnson (Cimarron Electric Cooperative, Kingfisher-Okla.), Clint Mobley (Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Norman-Okla.), Andrew Pool (Central Electric Cooperative, Stillwater-Okla.), Matt Montgomery (Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Vinita-Okla.), and Jeremy Shaffer (Kiamichi Electric Cooperative, Wilburton-Okla.)

“We are grateful for the overwhelming response of Oklahoma co-op linemen who are willing to leave their homes for an extended period of time to empower far-away communities,” says OAEC International Committee Chairman Jimmy Taylor. “Access to electricity will bring economic empowerment, better access to health care and enhanced safety for these villagers. It’s a life-changing gift.”

Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have established a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, The Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation, to support this cause. All contributions are tax-deductible. To learn more, visit: http://tinyurl.com/energytrails

Anna Politano
Phone: 405-761-0289
E-mail: apolitano@oaec.coop