un > Business as usual Co-ops keep the power ﬂowing during the pandemic photo courtesy SEMO Electric Cooperative SEMO Electric employees join Angie Byford while maintaining social distancing as she leads the National Cooperative Moment of Prayer. by Jim McCarty firstname.lastname@example.org O n a sunny day in Sikeston SEMO Electric's Angie Byford leads a Cooperative Moment of Prayer. In Troy the dinner table has been turned into a home ofﬁce for Cuivre River Electric employee Gabe Twellman and his family. Across the state Boone Electric ﬁeld engineer Jake Collins uses a 5-gallon bucket as a desk while working remotely. Business as usual turned into "business as unusual" for Missouri's electric cooperatives grappling with the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new normal 8 RURAL MISSOURI | JUNE 2020 during more than a month under a statewide stay-at-home order required careful planning, new ideas and lots of patience. Co-op lobbies were closed to protect the health of employees, who practiced social distancing or worked from home, and the public. Annual meetings were postponed, beginning with Consolidated Electric where members were scheduled to meet just as the virus took off. Post-coronavirus annual meetings will look a lot different, with some held virtually and others with drive-thru elections. Ultimately the state's electric coops kept the power ﬂowing for thousands of members dealing with their own problems. They also sought to bring help and hope to those in need. That was the case at SEMO Electric which invited cooperatives around the nation to join them in prayer. "The original idea was to pray over our cooperative's team and ofﬁces," says Angie, SEMO's supervisor of member relations. "However, we felt it in our hearts to invite all friends and cooperatives to join us." The prayer service asked for divine intervention to end the crisis, along with guidance for leaders making difﬁcult decisions and the safety of medical professionals caring for those sick with the virus. It was one of a host of good deeds practiced around the state as electric cooperatives tried to make the most of a bad situation.