by Sean J. Vanslyke | email@example.com
More than 100 volunteers from electric cooperatives in 25 states participated in the 14th Touchstone Energy Community Service Project. The project is always held on the Saturday before the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The principle is simple: Cooperatives come into town and leave it in a better state than they found it.
In this case, we hopped a bus to Murfreesboro, Tenn., which is about 35 miles southeast of Nashville, and part of Middle Tennessee Electric Cooperative’s service territory. We had five representatives from Team SEMO – Angie Byford, Britney Mulcahy, Loyd Rice and my wife Debbie and me.
Touchstone organizers divided us into several groups, each led by staffers from Middle Tennessee Electric, who worked with community partners to secure the necessary materials. One group delivered meals as part of a mobile food pantry and subsequently packaged 16,000 more meals. Another group helped to install 200 new LED light fixtures at an elementary school.
In the back of Wee Care Day Care Center, which serves a low-income population, Byford and Mulcahy scraped and painted its walkway’s metal rails, Rice was digging dirt to pave the way for a French drain (so the kids didn’t have to play in ankle-deep water after it rained), Debbie raked and bagged leaves and debris, while I spent several hours power washing. In the afternoon, we fixed fence, cut trees, raked and cleaned more debris around the facility. We left it much better than we found it.
This was my eighth time to participate in the annual event. Over the years, I have been able to take different people from Team SEMO with me. They are amazed at how hard the entire group of 100 works, the amount of work that gets accomplished and the new relationships that are created. It reminds me of those individuals who have built SEMO Electric Cooperative starting in 1938 and those who have helped build GoSEMO Fiber starting in 2017. When we pull together for the right reasons, people who care get things done that make our communities better and make other people’s lives better.
Thank you to member-owners who attended the 2022 Annual Meeting on May 12 at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo grounds. The drive-thru event was held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It was hot! Team SEMO drank a lot of water and smiled throughout the day. At 6 p.m., the Business Meeting was held to announce voting results. Members approved minutes from the 2021 Annual Meeting, the 2021 Financial Report and an amendment to the SEMO Electric' Bylaws to reduce the Cooperative’s taxes by optimizing available deductions within the tax code. Plus, member-owners Rick Faulkner (New Madrid County), Keith Haynes (Stoddard County), Field LaPlant (Mississippi County) and Von Priggel (Scott County) were elected to three-year terms to the Cooperative's Board of Directors. See you in 2023!
Book of the Month: “What I am not comfortable with is not trying. That's why I believe optimism is a perfect teammate to tenacity. How can you be tenacious if you don't think you can achieve what you're setting out to achieve? How can you put in the necessary work? More important, how can you sustain success once you achieve it?” Twelve and a Half by Gary Vaynerchuk
Be smart. Act safe. #keeppushingforward
Sean is the general manager and chief executive officer of SEMO Electric Cooperative and GoSEMO Fiber.