Just after Christmas my dad, son Max and I jumped in my truck and took off down the road to southwest Missouri. Max thought I was off on a never-ending search for parts to keep the tractor running. He was pretty surprised when we picked up a wet-nosed, furry bundle of boundless energy.
It took a lot of trust between my wife, Lindsey, and I before Ben, as we call him, joined the family. I had to convince her that since she did not give birth to this particular family member, the kids and I would be his chief caretakers. For my part, I had to trust the previous owner who promised me this bernedoodle — a cross between a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle — would not grow into something the size of a Shetland pony.
I’m not going to lie, the first few days it was a little crazy around our home. He stayed up all night howling at the moon and barking at every little noise. It took him a little while to realize we are going to feed him, provide a warm bed and that those little humans will keep his belly rubbed. Once he started trusting us, he became a pretty good dog.
That got me thinking about how much trust and faith we member-owners put in our electric co-op. For most of us, the only interaction we have with our local electric co-op is turning on a switch or paying a bill. But there’s something else that all of us have to do that’s pretty important: We put our trust in this business that we own. And that’s something the co-op doesn’t take lightly.
Our job as member-owners is to use that energy wisely and to pay our bills on time so that the co-op can keep its doors open. Our co-op’s job is to make sure the lights turn on when we need them.
To make this happen it takes trust.
Trust that those linemen — our heroes in hardhats — are willing to brave extreme weather making sure those power lines are up and running.
Trust that the right decisions are made at the co-op so there’s no blackouts across the state.
Trust that co-op transmission lines and equipment are designed to carry the largest load.
Trust in your friends and neighbors, who sit on those co-op boards and are making decisions so that your electric rates are set to cover expenses and nothing else. We also trust the decisions our boards make are in the best interest of the co-op owners. They, in turn, need to have your support when it’s time to take care of business at the annual meeting.
Trust is something that has to be earned, whether it’s from man’s best friend or the men and women who make up our local electric co-ops. For more than 80 years electric co-ops have earned that trust by being vital members of their communities.
While I know our co-ops trust you and you trust them … the jury is still out on my furry buddy, Ben, who seems to eat an awful lot of dog food.