May 2020 | #COVID-19Proud

Thank you for making people's lives better.
Thank you!

COVID-19 Proud. These words express my feelings about my family, Team SEMO and our communities. This time in history is unprecedented and has changed our world – forever.

Our daughter Amanda and my sister are both emergency department nurses. Amanda resides, with her husband who is a nurse for Veterans Affairs, in Washington State. My sister Jill lives in Webb City, Missouri. All three of them have been working numerous shifts to help make people’s lives better. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has made their jobs even more vital today than yesterday. I have always been proud. Now, they face a pandemic that has rapidly changing circumstances. My prayers are with them and other first responders and front-line workers at convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, post offices and many other people who continue to serve us - daily. COVID-19 Proud.

Team SEMO (the employees of SEMO Electric Cooperative) has stepped up its game by adapting to COVID-19. We instituted several measures to safeguard Team SEMO against any potential illness so we are available to keep the lights on and the fiber flowing. Several of our employees perform duties from home, our linemen report from their homes and drive separate vehicles and several staff members moved offices to create social distancing. We use Zoom for team meetings and wear masks and gloves as necessary to protect against coronavirus.

For obvious reasons, we closed our electric and fiber lobbies. We challenged our team to provide temporary, drive-up payment centers to help our member-subscribers who aren’t able to conduct business electronically. The team delivered. Drive-up facilities are available in Bloomfield and Sikeston. During crisis situations, let’s not hope for perfect solutions. Let’s do something. If it doesn’t work, let’s try something else. COVID-19 Proud.

During this time, we encourage members and subscribers to pay what you can on your electric and fiber bills to avoid a high balance when we get past the pandemic. We want to work with you to find a solution, including, if applicable, making financial arrangements, directing you to agencies, offering energy efficiency expertise, etc. We ask that if you are experiencing financial hardship that you stay in contact with us. Call us at 800-813-5230.

As we make lemonade from a bad situation, let’s keep thinking positive. COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will address the challenges as they occur. But know that, in the face of any challenge, we are here to keep the lights on and the fiber flowing. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time. COVID-19 Proud.

Book of The Month: “We are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard.” Jon Gordon – Stay Positive

Be smart. Act safe.

Vanslyke is general manager and chief executive officer of SEMO Electric Cooperative. The photo show Sean's daughter Amanda, who serves as an emergency department nurse in Washington State.

Note: As of April 7, 2020 (deadline for publication), SEMO Electric Cooperative's Annual Meeting has been postponed until July 2. Please watch for future updates.