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Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives honored with “Dream Big” award

November 05, 2018

Chris Meyers’ acceptance of the Dream Big award
Oklahoma's electric cooperatives have extended their reach across international borders and were recently recognized for impacting lives. The Oklahoma Rural Enterprises, Inc. (REI) awarded Oklahoma's electric cooperatives as the recipient of the first REI "Dream Big" award for electrifying villages in rural Guatemala. 

“This award was specifically developed to honor an organization that knows how to dream big and is not afraid to think way out of the box to deliver economic prosperity where it is needed most,” REI award description read. “Recipients embody the very essence of serving others before self and they serve as models and reminders that big dreams create big opportunities and even bigger life-changing impacts.”

Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have sponsored three international projects with in the last three years under the coordination of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s philanthropic arm, NRECA International. Co-op volunteer linemen went to the Amazonian area of Bolivia in 2016 and to rural Guatemala in 2017 and 2018. Collectively, Oklahoma co-ops have made possible 536 first-time connections to electric service, impacting many families and local businesses in five villages in Central America and South America.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from REI. Indeed, our cooperatives have dreamed big, and many lives have been improved with the gift of electricity,” Chris Meyers, general manager of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, said. “Electrifying areas that do not have access to electric power takes us back to our roots. The core of the cooperative mission is to improve the quality of life in rural communities. We’re proud to do that at home and abroad.”

In 2019, electric cooperatives of Oklahoma will send a new crew of co-op linemen volunteers to electrify another remote village in Guatemala. The co-ops have established a 501(c)3, not-for-profit to help fund these projects, the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation. To learn more, visit: www.tinyurl.com/energytrails 

From left to right: Gary Sherrer, REI Oklahoma Board Member, OAEC Director of Member Services, Stacy Howeth and Scott Dewald, REI Oklahoma President & CEO