OAEC General Manager Chris Meyers and Oklahoma Living Editor Anna Politano receive a check from employees at Southwest Rural Electric Cooperative for the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation.
Employees of Southwest Rural Electric Association (SWREA) based in Tipton, Oklahoma recently made a contribution of $20,000 to the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) established to support international electrification projects.
The gift came at an ideal time according to Chris Meyers, general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives.
“A few months ago, we received an anonymous contribution of $20,000 to further the international electrification cause; however, the gift came with a requirement for an endowment fund to be established and for the gift to be matched,” Meyers said. “This generous contribution from employees at Southwest Rural Electric enables us to fulfill this requirement and to continue nurturing this worthy mission. We are grateful for their generosity.”
Haley Hoover, communications specialist at SWREA and chair of the employee group said that employees contemplated a few causes to support and ultimately made the decision to invest in the international electrification cause.
“Going to developing nations to take the cooperative business model there and bring the gift of electricity is like taking a trip back in time,” Hoover said. “Rural electrification brought about transformation and a higher quality of life for rural Oklahoma and rural America. It’s a privilege to support a cause that is empowering other nations.”
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have sponsored two international electrification projects in the countries of Bolivia and Guatemala. The coordination of these projects is possible through the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and its philanthropic arm, NRECA International. In 2018, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives sent volunteer linemen to complete a third project in the region of Ixcán, Guatemala bringing electricity to two remote villages. One of the team volunteers was Mike Wolfe, operations manager at SWREA.
“I’m proud of Mike’s willingness to serve families in Guatemala by helping to provide the gift of light,” Ken Simmons, SWREA general manager said. “I applaud Southwest Rural employees for their generosity and their investment in empowering lives through the gift of electricity.”