Rural Missouri - June 2020 - 9
photo courtesy Webster Electric Cooperative
photo courtesy Boone Electric Cooperative
photo courtesy Osage Valley Electric Cooperative
Left: Webster Electric's Macy Mackey, left, and Tara Hunget sport masks made by the wife of lineman Richard Rust for those working the cooperative's drive-thru. Center: Boone Electric's Jake Collins uses a 5-gallon bucket for a desk while working remotely. Right: Kyla Yohe was overwhelmed by the demand for her masks for health care workers until other Osage Valley Electric employees helped out.
In Butler, one Osage Valley Electric
employee, Kyla Yohe, began making
masks for health care workers. "She
quickly became overwhelmed with
orders," says Jana Rosier, member services director for the co-op.
"Several employees brought sewing
machines to work and we started our
own assembly line and filled all of her
orders in a few days."
Webster Electric employees working the co-op's drive-thru are staying
safe thanks to the efforts of Belinda
Rust, wife of Webster Electric lineman Richard Rust. She crafted cloth
masks so the employees could continue working with members.
At least two churches were able to
continue services thanks to support
from electric co-op internet companies. In Hannibal, Cornerstone Baptist Church pastor Jason Hargraves
accidentally cut his connection to the
RallsTech internet service from Ralls
County Electric. Three adults counted
on the connecton in order to work at
home. Worse, Easter was two days
away and the fiber connection allowed
the faithful to worship remotely.
"RallsTech told us that everyone is
done for the week, and we could get
it fixed Monday," Jason says. "Which
was honestly sooner than I expected and I was grateful for that. But
when they learned that we needed the
repair in order to hold church, they
quickly sent out a crew."
Barry Electric's goBEC internet
service put a rush on a new installation to help Exeter's First Baptist
Church, which was trying to hold services via cell phone. "I watched their
first online service and it was rough,"
says Barry Electric's Laura Holycross.
"They had to keep moving around to
get a signal." The new goBEC connection made a big difference.
Internet connections proved vital
to everyone from parents working at
home to kids attending online classes. Co-Mo Connect, unable to send
technicians into homes for repairs,
came up with a plan to help one family with a member who tested positive
for the virus. "For many companies,
this would have been the end of the
conversation," says Co-Mo Manager
Aaron Bradshaw. "Fortunately, CoMo Connect is not like many companies. A plan was already in place
for this very contingency. Without
exposing our team, we were able to
help her through the setup, and she
now has internet service again during
a very tough time for her family."
Callaway Electric sent crews out
across its service area to install free
Wi-Fi hotspots in eight communities.
These allowed those without service
to drive up and tap into high-speed
internet through the cooperative's
At Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric, all
subscribers to its internet service received free upgrades and new college
students received two months free
service to further their education. "As
the coronavirus continued to impact
our community, we realized there was
going to be an increase in demand for
internet access," says Manager Tim
Davis. "We felt it is our responsibility
to help where we can."
Every electric co-op worked with
members to ease the burden for those
laid off. At United Electric that meant
returning security deposits, waiving
service availability charges and stopping disconnects and late fees.
Elsewhere, electric co-ops spread
help and hope through donations.
Farmers' Electric Cooperative donated
money to a local hospital's COVID-19
Fund Drive. White River Valley Electric pledged $50,000 in matching
funds to Community Foundation of
the Ozarks to help the most vulnerable citizens in its service area.
The story was the same around the
state as electric co-ops went beyond
keeping the lights on.
"We are their neighbors, we are local and our mission is to enhance the
quality of life for the area we serve,"
says Tim. "We strive to achieve that
every day and as this virus spreads
through our area, we will do what we
can to help."
JUNE 2020 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP
Rural Missouri - June 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2020
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Rural Missouri - June 2020 - Contents
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