by | Jun 20, 2022

As someone who married way above my paygrade, I’ve watched more than my share of Hallmark movies. So many, in fact, that I’m pretty sure I can write the plot for one. Hallmark, this one’s for you …

On her way from Chicago to Kansas City, an up-and-coming account executive with a Windy City ad firm breaks down in Gower, Missouri. She drives a Tesla, and it turns out that parts for the electric vehicle are on a slow boat from China.

Frustrated and crying, she gets help from a local farm couple who takes pity on her and offers her a spare bedroom on the edge of town. Here she waits for Randy’s Repairs to fix her car. Gower Days, the annual summer festival, is underway. She eats her first funnel cake made by the ladies from the Ebeneezer United Methodist Church. She witnesses her first cornhole tournament and gets to judge the annual Chili Contest.

Just when this high-powered executive starts to fall in love with the slow pace and generous people in this northwest Missouri town, she gets a call from Randy’s with news that her car is ready and all charged up. She has just enough time to drive to Kansas City and make her winning presentation.

Unknown to her, a crew from United Electric Cooperative has the only road out of town blocked while they replace a downed electric pole. That’s where she meets a rugged and handsome lineman for the co-op (they tell me that’s the only kind there is). He apologizes for the delay and suggests she logs on to United Fiber’s gigabit internet service and make the presentation via Zoom.

Now, she never expected to find gigabit internet service in a town this small, much less folks who leave the keys in their pickup in case you need to use it. She gives the presentation, but in the middle of it realizes she never wants to return to Chicago.

She marries the lineman, has a gaggle of kids, becomes a KC Royals fan, borrows the funnel cake recipe from the church, sets up an online store to sell funnel cakes and lives happily ever after in Gower.

In 2020 PC Magazine featured 10 places in the U.S. that combine low-cost housing and gigabit internet service, making them the perfect locations for remote work. One area cited was St. Joseph and its surrounding small towns, including Gower.

If they knew what they were missing, I think most city folks would move to the country.

Whether they are installing it or finding partnerships to make it happen, your electric cooperative is doing its part to try to get broadband internet into every corner of rural Missouri. It’s not just to get city folks to move there either. It’s because it is what you, our member-owners, deserve.

I would like to write more, but I’ve gotta go. Lindsey says it’s time for “When Calls the Heart.”

Caleb is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of Boone Electric Cooperative.

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