would have been proud
Every year representatives
from Missouri’s electric co-ops join
their counterparts for the meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative
Association. One of the meeting highlights is the chance to recognize
those who are doing an exceptional job meeting the needs of the membership.
a member of a Missouri electric cooperative, you would have been
proud to be in the audience this year. That’s because our co-ops
took home the lion’s
share of awards presented by the national association.
The highest honor
a rural electric employee or director can earn from NRECA is the Clyde
T. Ellis Award. The award is named for the legendary first manager
of NRECA known for his spellbinding speeches and crusades on behalf
of rural America. No greater recipient could be found for this award
than Frank Stork, former manager of the Association of Missouri Electric
Cooperatives, who accepted the honor in February.
Rather than tout
his own considerable achievements in his address to the members, Frank
instead educated a new generation of electric cooperative leaders that
were present about the man the award is named for and why we should
continue his mission.
Many members of the
Missouri delegation told me it was one of the best speeches they have
the only Missourian to accept an award. Our Member Services Department
at the association — Linda Bolten,
Mike Marsch and Nikki Calvert — received
NRECA’s National Community Service Award for CYCLE, or Cooperative
Youth Conference and Leadership Experience.
This program grew
out of a request by local cooperatives for a way to honor rural youth
who show great promise as future leaders. CYCLE, now in its third year,
brings these young men and women to the state capital where they are
immersed in cooperative theory, legislative procedures and team-building
The awards didn’t
end there. NRECA could not provide the leadership they do without help
from elected officials who share a vision for a revitalized rural America.
Such a person is U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. Time after time she has
come through for your electric cooperative, and NRECA’s Distinguished
Service Award was presented to her in thanks for all she has done.
efforts include expansion of the Rural Economic Development Loan
and Grant Program, which has funneled millions into community development
has consistently fought for full funding of Rural Utilities Service loans
that help electric co-ops continue the electric system reliability you
expect. She’s also helped consumer-owned utilities
keep their preferred status for use of the nation’s hydropower
resources, the cleanest and least expensive source of power.
we hear all the things Rep. Emerson has done for our state it makes
us proud to know she is one of our own.
directors also came together to bring back a big honor. More Missouri
directors earned Certified Cooperative Director status than any other
state. AMEC President Carl Lowrance of Laclede Electric accepted this
honor on our behalf. This award recognizes that Missouri’s
directors are doing their part to arm themselves with the knowledge
needed to ensure they make sound decisions for the future of
Awards are nice,
but meetings like these excite us with new ideas, and those who attended
returned home inspired to do great things. As long as the electric
cooperatives continue our commitment to you, the member, and provide
the service you expect, that is the best award for all of us.
Hart is executive vice president of the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.