It Starts with Power
Q&A with Cotton Electric Cooperative Chief Executifve Officer, Jennifer Meason, who visited an electrification site in 2018.
Jennifer Meason donates water filters in Guatemala in 2018. Photo by Daniel Afcha
Editor’s Note: Did you know Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have an endowment fund for the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation? This means that we have the opportunity to invest in missions that bring first-time electricity to far-away villages. We recently talked to Cotton Electric Cooperative Chief Executifve Officer, Jennifer Meason, who visited an electrification site in 2018, about her insights on the impact of this mission.
Q. Describe the impact you experienced when you traveled to Guatemala:
A. I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with the Energy Trails Inauguration Team in 2018. It was a life-changing experience that opened my eyes to the daily struggles and strife so many people face around the world. It wasn’t that long ago that our own area faced those same struggles which is why cooperatives began in the 1930s.
As we drove through Guatemala, we saw lush greenery, tropical plants and striking mountains. That beauty was a strong contrast to the harsh reality of poverty and life without electricity that we would soon see.
In the villages, we observed multiple generations working together to carry drinking water, harvest corn by hand, and prepare meals over open fires. It was exhaustive work to meet the barest of needs. It was a blessing to see how they interacted with our linemen and to witness the excitement on their faces when their homes were electrified. We knew that in the days to come, many of these tasks would be made easier and their safety and quality of life would improve.
The trip put many things into perspective for me. It’s easy to dismiss the images you see on television or social media but when you see those things first hand, it changes you.
Q. Why should anyone consider giving to the Energy Trails Endowment Fund?
A. We may not be able to travel out of the country to volunteer our time but we can make a difference together. By donating to the Energy Trails Foundation, no matter the amount, we can pool our resources to give the gift of power.
To give a tax-deductible gift to the Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation Endowment Fund, visit oaec.coop/co-op-difference/energy-trails/