By Randy Carroll, CEO
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
In the spirit of this quote by author William Arthur Ward, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for your membership in our electric cooperative. Because of your connection to East Mississippi Electric Power Association, we are able to make our community a better place.
I generally use this space to provide updates on new projects and developments, and report out on the progress of ongoing initiatives. We share these updates so that all of our consumer-members have a window into our priorities, progress and challenges. However, during this season of giving thanks, I think it’s equally important to let you and other consumer-members of EMEPA know just what an impact you have on our co-op and the greater community, likely in ways you may not even realize.
As part of the cooperative business model, one of our core principles is “Concern for Community.” While our priority is always to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy, we view our role in the community as a catalyst for good.
We are purposeful in supporting employee volunteerism for numerous community organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation, United Way of East Mississippi, State Games of Mississippi and the Lauderdale County Extension Service Leadership Lauderdale Youth Program. Our signature Shoot For A Cure event raised over $21,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life and earned EMEPA recognition as the Top Fundraiser in Lauderdale County for three years in a row. Likewise, we encourage our members to give back through our Volunteer Fire Department Donation program. EMEPA members have donated nearly $1 Million to local volunteer fire fighters in east Mississippi since the program’s beginning in 1998.
EMEPA also participates in an annual Youth Tour where we take our community’s brightest young people to Washington, D.C. for a week-long immersion to experience democracy in action. The trip is inspirational for many students, and we are both humbled and honored to be a part of this leadership development journey. Ultimately, the larger community benefits from these programs because of you! You empower the co-op through your membership and through your participation in and support of these programs.
When you attend co-op events, alert us to problems, provide suggestions online or to our employees, you help us improve operations and thereby better serve the larger co-op membership.
Because we are locally governed by members of our community, we are able to get a first-hand perspective on community priorities, thereby enabling us to make more informed decisions on long-term investments.
We are thankful that our co-op board members carve out time to attend important training sessions, participate in planning meetings and keep abreast of industry trends. This investment in time results in better informed advisors that serve the co-op’s interests in a way that our consumer-members expect and deserve.
On a more personal note, we appreciate the countless acts of kindness our lineworkers and other employees receive when they are working in severe weather and dangerous conditions. Our employees are thankful for your patience and consideration when we are trying to restore power during challenging situations and prolonged periods.
EMEPA was originally established 80 years ago to bring electricity to our area when no one else would. The cooperative is a reflection of our local community and its evolving needs. Together, let’s continue making our corner of the world a better place. We can’t do it without you, and for that, we’re thankful for your membership.