The Co-op Difference During COVID-19
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are fully committed to the communities they serve. That means not only keeping the lights on, but also lending a hand to neighbors in times of need.
As the global pandemic evolves, rural electric cooperatives in Oklahoma continue to step up to the plate to care for members and serve them with excellence. This month, Oklahoma Living magazine shows a few examples of the ‘Cooperative Difference’ throughout the state. #PowerOn
ecoLINK fiber, a subsidiary of East Central Electric Cooperative based in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, continues to install fiber after careful communication and consideration for both members and employees. Pictured here is ecoLINK employee Cody Kennedy.
Northwestern Electric teamed up with the CoBank Sharing Success matching grant program to help out local organizations during the COVID-19 crisis. The Hope Center, Salvation Army, the Pregnancy Center and the Buffalo Regional Food Pantry received a $5,000 donation each from NWEC. The Cooperative also gave an individual donation of $1,000 to the Ellis County Food Bank.
Cimarron Electric Cooperative joined forces with Pioneer Telephone Cooperative to reach out to area hospitals. They took bags with goodies and snacks to every hospital employee at Mercy Hospital Kingfisher, Mercy Hospital Watonga, Seiling Regional Medical Center, Okeene Municipal Hospital and Fairview Regional Medical Center. It was important to Cimarron Electric to ensure that every hospital employee was included in this effort and received appreciation from the co-ops.
Cindy Willbanks, cost accounting clerk at Cookson Hills Electric, began making custom masks for members and employees in March during the pandemic. She uses colorful patterns and colors to customize the masks for the recipients. Cindy has worked at Cookson Hills Electric for over 38 years.
Lake Region Technology and Communications (LRTC) set up three free public Wi-Fi “hotspots” during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These locations are the Keys Elementary School parking lot, the Hulbert City Park and Norris Park in Tahlequah. LREC wanted to help local students without reliable internet access at home. Students could participate in digital learning from these fast, reliable and free Wi-Fi locations.
To help fight COVID-19, the Panhandle Counseling and Health Center (PCHC) purchased supplies from Wirtz Lumber to sanitize hard surfaces in highly frequented public places and medical facilities. As part of its commitment to community, Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC) contributed to the project.Pictured from L-R: Christopher Wirtz, Larry Wirtz and Brenda Eidson, all representing Wirtz Lumber; Dan Stiles representing the Heritage Community, and Ty Pool, representing PCHC.
OzarksGo is installing Wi-Fi hotspots in Adair County to help the community access the internet during COVID-19. These hotspots are free and open to the public:
- Adair County Courthouse, corner of Division Street and Second Street
- Cherokee Nation Aerospace Manufacturing parking lot, Locust Street and Third Street
- Stilwell High School football field, West Poplar Street and North Fifth Street
See a map of hotspots at ozarksgo.net/hotspots.