When disaster strikes
one of our neighbors we all want to help. That’s
been the case lately as our fellow cooperative members in the Gulf States
were pounded by one hurricane after another.
Millions were plunged
into darkness as the relentless storms knocked out power. Many electric
cooperative systems in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia
faced 100 percent outages in the wake of the storms.
You can imagine
the exhaustion the line crews from those affected systems faced after
restoring power, only to see their hard work undone. In September
cooperatives got the call to come take some of the burden off these crews.
rural electric program has often been compared to one big family.
Like an extended rural family that drops everything to come to the
rescue of a stricken family member, electric cooperatives can be counted
on to lend a hand when the chips are down for another member of the
When the call for
help came Missouri cooperatives easily assembled a group of 101 linemen.
They left in a convoy of 41 trucks bringing with them a variety of
Many crews worked
for a week and some stayed for two weeks. The working conditions were
terrible. They labored under a hot sun, only to find rest in the most
primitive conditions long after lesser men would have called it quits.
I hope you will read Jeff Joiner’s
article to better understand what took place.
way cooperatives do business. In fact, one of the basic tenets under
which cooperatives exist is called “cooperation among cooperatives.” Supporting
other cooperatives like those in the hurricanes’ paths is more
than just being neighborly. It’s good business.
Every co-op knows
that the next time Mother Nature sends a disastrous storm, it might
be their system in its path. It pays to bank some good will and cooperation
so there’s something to draw upon when you’re the one
who needs help.
In the years past
Missouri’s electric cooperatives
have sent help to our neighbors in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and
Kansas. In turn, we have received help from those states as needed.
call for help follows a carefully orchestrated plan that ensures
help gets where it’s needed in the most efficient manner. It
starts with a phone call from the affected system to the Association
of Missouri Electric Cooperatives in Jefferson City.
As the calls for
help come in the calls for volunteers go out to systems not affected.
With that one call the cooperative with members out of power can
forget about searching for help and concentrate on getting your power
back on, confident that help is on its way.
neighbors — that’s
the concept that has always been found in rural Missouri and also built
the rural electric network in the first place. As you feel the first
icy breath of winter this month you can be confident your cooperative
will respond with its best should nature send us her worst.
Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri