Rural Missouri - January 2020 - 31
by Paul Newton | firstname.lastname@example.org
departments, their support precedes any direct ﬁnancial
gift. "We have a good ﬁre department here. I'd like to think
we've contributed to that in some capacity," Kevin notes.
hen a call comes in, Scott Jones needs all the
Scott says rural communities with volunteer ﬁre departhelp he can get. Whether it's a small grass ﬁre
ments can face certain challenges. "As far as volunteers
or an incident on nearby Interstate 29, Scott -
go, we have a lot of them," Scott says. "It's just issues with
the ﬁre chief for both the Rock Port Volunteer
availability when a call comes through. It's paramount that
Fire Department and West Atchison Fire Protection Disyou get enough guys there."
trict - needs to make certain he has the manpower and
The cooperative has a trio of lineworkers and one recent
reliable equipment to respond safely.
retiree who are volunteer ﬁreﬁghters. If a call comes in
"We're exposed to a lot of things in this area," he says.
when one of them are working and they're in a place where
"The better gear we can have, the safer we'll all be."
they can safely get back, they'll respond to the ﬁre.
Nearby Atchison-Holt Electric Cooperative helps ensure
"I've got to thank all the employers who let their emthose needs are met, exemplifying the seventh cooperative
ployees go like that," says Scott. "When they leave, you
principle, "Concern for Community." Through a combinadon't know if they're going to get halfway here and turn
tion of matching grants and employee policies, the Rock
right around or be gone for the whole day."
Port-based cooperative has helped the departments as well
Kevin says the co-op views it as an investment in the
as other worthy causes that directly impact their memberarea in which they serve. "Our board members are in this
ship in northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa.
community. They want to see everyone beneﬁt from it,"
One avenue the cooperative has used
he says. "And God forbid if our building ever catches
is the Sharing Success charitable giving
on ﬁre, it is going to be those volunteers that come
program offered through CoBank, a Denand help us."
ver-based cooperative bank serving rural
That commitment continued following a proindustries across the country. The bank gives
longed ﬁre at a nearby tire recycling facility in
its customers access to up to $7,500 - re2017. The combination of the tires and heavy
cently increased from $5,000 - per year. The
wind resulted in a monthslong effort to fully
money is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis
extinguish the blaze.
to address community needs.
The plant was located extremely close to
"We've leveraged the Sharing Success
a substation for N.W. Electric Power Coopprogram pretty successfully the past few years
erative, the transmission co-op that provides
and certainly plan to in the future," says Kevin
power to Atchison-Holt. The department's work
Dechant, general manager of Atchison-Holt. "It's
helped protect the substation from signiﬁcant damage.
a great program to help cooperatives be involved in the
Battling a ﬁre for that length of time wasn't an easy
task and spread resources thin. Later in the year, the coThe cooperative annually makes donations to lowop's board of directors partnered in an alliance that, comincome home energy assistance programs in both Missouri
bined with Sharing Success, was able to deliver an $8,000
and Iowa which is then doubled via Sharing Success. "We
donation to department. "Any time we can get help from
earmark it speciﬁcally for co-op members," Kevin says.
anybody, we're more than excited to accept it," Scott says.
"Our board wanted it to help our membership."
"It helps us buy better gear so we're safer on the scene."
Atchison-Holt also has a symbiotic relationship with
Whether it's helping hang holiday lights in town or
the Rock Port School District. When the co-op moved their
making local donations, Kevin says the programs they're
annual meeting inside, the high school opened its doors
involved in are born of the good nature and willingness to
for the membership to gather and do the business of the
give often found in rural areas.
cooperative each July.
"It's kind of like when you see a farmer is hurt or sick
"We initially bought them a ﬂoor covering to use when
and every other farmer
we held our meeting in
comes over and harvests
there," Kevin says. "We retheir crops for them," he
cently wanted to continue
says. "They've done that
to show our appreciation
for probably 100 years and
for them letting us use
still do. It's amazing what
a close-knit bunch we are
The school's track
needed a new pole vault
pit, which is not a small
expenditure. With the
Left: Kevin Dechant, left, has
matching dollars from
worked with Scott Jones to
ensure Atchison-Holt can help
was able to direct $6,000
the northwest Missouri ﬁre
to the school to help offset
departments Scott watches over.
approximately one-third of
Far left: Scott's departments
helped ﬁght a prolonged ﬁre
While AHEC has raised
earlier this year at a grain elevamoney for the local ﬁre
tor in northwest Missouri.
JANUARY 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP
Rural Missouri - January 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2020
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Contents
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Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - January 2020 - Cover4