Giving Thanks This November
When I sat down to write this article, I struggled to summarize the many things I am thankful for this year. Of course, there are life’s personal blessings, like becoming a first-time Grandfather in August. Similarly, I am grateful for life’s professional good fortune, as well.
After spending much of 2020 with our staff working remotely, or limited to small working groups, 2021 was a welcome change. Our employees were able to gradually return to the office, which meant a return of the hustle and bustle in the hallways and break room. The Board was able to reconvene, in-person, and we were able to greet members from the lobby once again.
I say this routinely, and truly believe, that I am surrounded by some of the very best in our business. Each day, I feel grateful for this team, but this is the time of year when I have a formal opportunity to say it. Thank you to each and every one of our team members. Without your commitment to the Cooperative and our members, we would not be able to deliver upon our mission or serve our members reliable energy, 24/7, 365 days a year. This gratefulness extends to our Board of Trustees and members, who have supported our operations through unprecedented times.
On January 13th, MEC’s service area was ravaged by a record-setting windstorm. Wind gusts above 100 mph tore across the Northwest and left nearly 700,000 Americans without power. Of those impacted, nearly 6,000 were MEC members. Electric utilities across the Northwest were spread thin, but luckily, MEC received the support of four additional crews, comprised of linemen from Ravalli Electric Cooperative, Vigilante Electric Cooperative and Rocky Mountain Contractors. These crews worked tirelessly, alongside our very own, to clear right of way, repair damaged lines and restore power.
It is in dire times like these, especially in the dead of winter, when every additional crew and lineman is important. Without supplementary crews, restoration timelines would look much different. We are incredibly grateful for the mutual aid we receive from neighboring cooperatives. This defining characteristic of electric cooperatives, we refer to as, “cooperation among cooperatives.”
In summer of 2020, we broke ground on the El Mar Estates underground cable replacement project. This operations project was intensive, as our team worked to replace aging high voltage cables and transformers that serve the El Mar subdivision. In all, MEC replaced over 67,000 feet of cable and 100 transformers. Our team is thankful for the patience and cooperation that the members in the El Mar neighborhood, displayed.
There are seven cooperative principles that are the backbone to our daily operations. One of these principles is Concern for Community, which is why we instated the Operation Round Up® charitable-giving program in June 2021. By simply rounding their monthly bill to the nearest dollar, MEC members are making a significant group impact in their communities. Every penny that is donated, is pooled together to benefit local non-profits, agencies and organizations. This is a program that we were very eager to roll out and I look forward to sharing more about those benefiting from the funds in the months ahead.
From our team to our community, and all the accomplishments in-between, these are but a few of the reasons I am thankful and grateful this November. Wishing you and yours a blessed month and a Happy Thanksgiving!