Cooperatives around the world operate by seven cooperative principles. No matter if we are talking about a food, housing, workers, artists, production, daycare or our electric distribution cooperative, we all have adopted these principles as a guide that puts the needs of our members and our communities first.
The principle I would like to talk about today is Principle 7, Concern for Community. This concern was the cornerstone on which cooperatives were first built. As a local company, the REMC calls the communities we serve home. As your directors work through the important conversations regarding the possible consolidation of our cooperative with neighboring Jasper County REMC, they recognize the impact that this can have on our membership and our communities.
You know, probably firsthand, that we sponsor and participate in many local events and take an active role in economic development to help build and grow our cities, towns and rural areas.
As we look at the positive impacts that a consolidation will have for the cooperative and our members, our commitment to the community will not change. If anything, we hope to have a stronger local presence.
The leadership team of both REMCs is keenly aware of the needs in our communities. From upgrades to the parks that our children enjoy, to services to help our elderly, both cooperatives support projects that support our communities. These longstanding ties and deep roots both REMCs have nurtured for the past 79 years will continue with a consolidated cooperative.
The Concern for Community principle is far more than just a concept to our employees. Every year, your cooperative invests a significant amount of time and funding in activities to support the communities. Here are just some of the ways we demonstrate our commitment:
- REMC employees volunteer their time for local non-profit organizations and are given time off work to do that.
- We support local economic development efforts that encourage new jobs in the community.
- Our employees promote safety by conducting high-voltage demonstrations for schools, 4-H, festivals, first responders and others.
- REMC supports 4-H through financial donations while employees volunteer time to provide classes and judging for the electric project.
- REMC celebrates Arbor Day by annually giving trees to local fourth graders — 6,600 trees in the past seven years.
- REMC created and has coordinated a “Pack-A-Backpack” program that, for the past five years, provides over 150 packed backpacks annually to students in need throughout our service territory.
Why is this commitment so important to us? We know that everyone benefits from a stronger community. Helping our neighbors is part of what KV REMC has always been. As a member, you can take pride in that.
DENNIS WEISS is CEO of Kankakee Valley REMC.