August 5th, 2017 dawned after the Friday evening storm clouds rolled through to reveal an unusually cooler day providing over 2,800 Co-op member families and community helpers a beautiful day for their 81st annual meeting at the Crawford County Fair Grounds. Co-op members relished in the day to not only hold their Annual Meeting to elect board members in four districts, but to communicate with neighbors and meet some new friends. It’s just one of the many things that sets Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative apart from other investor-owned type of utilities.
In addition to a ballot to vote for their local Board of Directors, each of the 980 attending memberships received a thermometer sporting a photo of two of their local linemen working on a Northwestern REC pole. Entertainment was provided for children during the business meeting and was reminiscent of a small-town fair atmosphere offering a 22-foot slide, obstacle course, climbing wall, clowns, magician, cotton candy, popcorn, face-painting, bingo and endless games for all ages. Members received a complimentary Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) meal, with all the traditional fixings. KFC served 2,800 meals to member families and over 100 community helpers.
Members had the opportunity to listen to informational reports outlining the business of the cooperative. Two representatives of the Board of Directors were re-elected to new three-year terms. Re-elected Board members were Kim Docter, District 6 and David Rectenwald, District 7. Two new directors were elected to fill out the 10-member Board of Directors with Marian Davis elected to District 8 and Lisa Chausse in District 9.
Kathryn Cooper-Winters, Board President took the opportunity to present Marian Davis a clock recognizing Bob Davis for his service and dedication not only to Northwestern REC but to his entire community. In addition, Kathy Hackleman from the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Cooperative Association presented Mrs. Davis with a resolution commemorating the years of service Bob Davis provided to the Cooperative and Northwestern REC members. Cooper-Winters, who represents Northwestern REC on the Allegheny Electric Cooperative Board of Directors, went on to explain to members how the power mix – 59% Nuclear, 9% Hydro, 1% Renewable and the balance purchased on the open market – helps keep member electric rates one of the lowest in the region.
During the business meeting President & CEO, Mary Grill, took the stage to discuss the way the Cooperative uses technology to avoid power outages – in fact 1.6 million hours of outages have been avoided for members through July 2017. In addition to the informational speeches, Youth Tour representative, Ashley Conaway, outlined the 2017 Washington D.C. Youth Tour trip and her reflections.
The “Co-op Picnic”, as members call it, will go down in the record book as one to remember. This epic event couldn't have been such a success without the help of Cooperative employees and over 100 community groups that pitch in to help. It’s a true example of Commitment to Community.