Rural Missouri - November 2013 - (Page 12)

Right: AMEC Vice President Larry Clark, right, listens as Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon addresses the association's annual meeting Oct. 3 in Kansas City. Nixon said affordable, reliable electricity is crucial when attracting new businesses and investment to the Show-Me State. Below: AMEC CEO Barry Hart discusses a new grassroots effort by the nation's electric co-ops to oppose an "all-butone" energy policy that excludes coal. photo by Heather Berry C by Jason Jenkins oncern for community. It's one of the seven principles that guide all cooperatives, and the one that permeated the agenda during the 76th annual meeting of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Oct. 2-4, in Kansas City. From a wounded warrior from a small town in Georgia to Missouri's governor, the meeting's numerous speakers stressed the importance of community and how strengthening relationships with neighbors serves to make us all stronger. "What makes us different is that we really love and believe in what we do within our cooperative system," said Tom Steska, general manager of Black River Electric Cooperative and president of the association. "Love is an intense emotion. It makes you go a little farther, makes you stay longer, sacrifice more, give more. It's more than just receiving a paycheck at the end of the week." Added CEO Barry Hart, "We are a strong co-op movement in Missouri. Our responsibility as co-op leaders is to fight for your members as they expect us to do, like we always have." It's love and community that Staff Sgt. Johnny "Joey" Jones shared with the group. Jones' eight-year career in the U.S. Marines brought him to the forefront of advocacy for wounded warriors. A chance meeting in Washington, D.C., with Missouri's Youth Tour delegation brought him to speak to Missouri's co-op leaders. He related the outpouring he's witnessed since losing both of his legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device in 12 photo by Jason Jenkins Helping our neighbors Concern for community highlighted at 2013 AMEC annual meeting Afghanistan in 2010. "Throughout it all, I began to see what this country is actually made of," he said. "It's made of outstanding individuals who make an even better community. We are a community, and we will be much better off if we start to really embrace our communities, because that's exactly what got me through everything I've been through." Jones has served as a spokesperson for a number of veterans' causes and organizations. Among them is the Boot Campaign, which encourages everyone to "get their boots on," providing an easy and tangible way for Americans to show appreciation for troops, cultivate awareness of the challenges they face upon return and raise funds for military programs meeting the physical and emotional needs of our heroes. "What's the most important thing we can do?" Jones asked the crowd. "It's letting that veteran know - thank you." From taking care of our veterans to taking care of our children, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon spoke of the role electric co-ops have played in expanding broadband access to schools across the Show-Me State. "I appreciate everything that the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives has done for Missouri schools," Nixon said. "Not only keeping the lights on but also helping to open up their world to Internet and broadband. You're helping lead the way during the next great moment of change and technology for rural and photo above and at left by Jim McCarty Staff Sgt. Johnny "Joey" Jones shared his experiences as an advocate for wounded warriors through the Boot Campaign. An impromptu passing of Jones' boots during dinner raised more than $3,000 for the cause. WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP small-town Missouri." Nixon said that thanks to the cooperative efforts of the MoBroadbandNow initiative, 90 percent of rural Missourians now have access to broadband. At a time when competition for jobs and economic development is worldwide, Nixon included affordable electricity as one of the keys to attracting new industry. He told how Toyota recently invested in a manufacturing facility in Troy, Mo., thanks in part to utility rates. "Your commitment to affordable, abundant and reliable energy is vital to keeping our economy moving forward." Also on the meeting's agenda was a welcome from Missouri Public Service Commissioner Bill Kenney; a financial presentation from Sheldon Peterson, CEO of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation; addresses from Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt; an update on efforts to protect farming from Dan Kleinsorge, executive director of Missouri Farmers Care; a legislative update from Laura Marshall Schepis, NRECA's vice president of political affairs; and a look back at 50 years of participation in the Rural Electric Youth Tour from Mike Marsch, AMEC's director of member services. The association presented its Distinguished Service Award to the late Ken Miller, former general manager of Laclede Electric in Lebanon, who passed away in June. In addition, Herb Fallert of Ste. Genevieve, a longtime director at Citizens Electric Corp., was honored with the Frank Stork Democracy Award. http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2013

Rural Missouri - November 2013
White mules and family wine
Helping our neighbors
A rolling tribute to freedom
Out of the Way Eats
Big man from a small town
Hearth and Home
Best of rural Missouri
Salvaging history
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - November 2013