by | Sep 18, 2023

After hours, electric co-op people give back to their communities

By day they repair lines, balance the books and communicate with members. After hours they volunteer in a host of community activities. When your employer puts great emphasis on Concern for Community, volunteering is in your job description. That’s why you can find electric co-op employees putting in long hours in a labor of love for worthy causes.

This summer found Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative lineman Rex McElwrath stepping up to take part in a summer camp for at-risk youth hosted for 30 years by Kennett Presbyterian Church.

“I asked area folks to come for short, positive presentations,” says Kenna Skelton, who led the camp this year. “I approached Rex, and he agreed with no hesitation. The morning of his presentation he confided he’d never done anything like this. But he proceeded to show his protective gear while incorporating electrical safety like a champ.”

Rex is just one of many electric co-op employees who answer the community call. They live and work in the same communities, so it’s a natural extension of their day jobs. Here’s just a few ways electric co-op employees are making a difference:

• Lori Rego, marketing communications coordinator for Crawford Electric Cooperative, often can be found putting in long hours with her furry friends at the HALO, or Home At Last Organization, in Sullivan. When she finally heads for home she’s greeted by a tailwagging crew of cats and dogs she’s rescued.

• Gabe Twellman, member services representative for Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, calls to order the meeting of the Silex School Board as its president. He’s served on the school board for 14 years.

Central Electric Power Cooperative’s Jeremy Tappel is a double volunteer, helping with the Central Missouri Honor Flight and coaching the Blair Oaks High School archery team.

“Small communities have amazing resources that just need to be asked to help and this was an exciting example,” Kenna says of Rex’s presentation for the camp.

For rural communities to succeed, they need volunteers willing to step up and provide an example of service others can follow. Co-ops and their communities are better when they work together.

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