Strengthening our communities in 2020
The beginning of a new year is a time of excitement, planning, and possibilities. It’s also a time to reflect on what you accomplished the year before. At Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, we had a very successful 2019. For yet another year, we fulfilled our commitment to return capital credits to members, returning more than $1 million. That’s one of the many traits that make being a cooperative member special, and we are proud to do that each and every year.
We continued our efforts in 2019 to bring broadband to the Wiregrass, which consisted of proving through our speed test study that our area lacked the broadband access it needs. Those results were presented in Washington, D.C., and went a long way to helping our broadband partner, Troy Cable, receive a $575,115 grant to continue building essential communications infrastructure for our members.
We continued our efforts to offer more opportunities for our youth through Youth Tour and Operation Round Up scholarships.
We also succeeded in receiving all eligible Hurricane Michael-related FEMA reimbursement, which ensured that our members won’t see any negative financial impacts from that storm.
This is just a small sample of all we accomplished in 2019, but 2019 is done, and it’s time to look to 2020.
One of our greatest commitments as a cooperative is to improve the communities we serve. We will have a continued commitment to that in 2020.
One of the many ways we work to better our community is through our Silent Heroes of the Wiregrass program. We are so proud of this program and thankful to our partner, WTVY, and our members, who agree to have their bills rounded up each month to make the program possible.
In this issue of Alabama Living, you will read about Brandee and Adam Lukas of Lifted Higher Ministries, our December Silent Hero winner. They, like all of our winners, have done great work in the Wiregrass, and most of it has gone unnoticed.
Thanks to our Operation Round Up program, we were able to recognize them and further their cause by donating $1,000 to their ministry. That money was put to great use during the holidays by buying presents for the elderly. The Silent Heroes program helps so many in our community, and we will continue this in 2020. We also will continue to sponsor students to attend the Montgomery and Washington, D.C., Youth Tours. This is a life-changing trip for these students, and we are looking forward to seeing who will represent our cooperative this year. We have had great students in the past, and I expect this year to be the same.
Our cooperative also made another big commitment to the Wiregrass United Way. In 2019, WEC has donated $19,415.04 to this worthy organization. This amount includes almost $12,000 from our employee contributions and WEC corporate contributions. In addition, WEC also donates annually from the community grant program at CoBank. Last September, WEC made a $7,500 donation to the United Way with the money from that grant.
Our cooperative is so grateful to the United Way for all of its efforts to improve our community and to our WEC employees who volunteer their time to work with the Wiregrass United Way. We strive to help make our Wiregrass community a better place to call home.
Our efforts in broadband will continue in 2020 because we believe that is one of the most effective ways we can improve. We made great progress in 2019, but more work still needs to be done. We have said it before, and we will say it again: Our goal is to bring broadband to every WEC member, and we won’t stop working until that happens.
Everything listed in this column is something our cooperative does to improve the community. We put such an emphasis on community development because we want to improve the lives of our members who live in these communities. Simply put, we do this for you — our members.
Improving your life has been our goal for more than 80 years, and we plan to continue that in 2020. Going the extra mile at WEC is what we do, because “Just Enough, Isn’t Enough.” That’s “The Wiregrass Way."
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative