It’s the season of giving and thankfulness.
This year, we thought we’d share a story about a group of linemen who took vacation time to volunteer to do the most good in a tiny village desperately in need of electricity and the economic boost it provides.
Providing First-Time Electricity
October 28th of this year, a small group of volunteer linemen made their way back to the United States with hearts full and bodies exhausted from their journey. It took them more than two weeks to install approximately 1.74 miles of primary line and 1.2 miles of secondary line in the remote village of Chiis, an isolated, agrarian village in northwest Guatemala – where they provided some 80 families with electricity for the first time.
The idea began when the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) developed a partnership with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International (NRECAI), and the decision was reached to electrify the small village, located in a poverty-stricken area of rural Central America.
Why It Matters
Jimmy Taylor, OAEC International Committee Chairman, explains why their efforts were invaluable to the isolated region, “We are grateful for the overwhelming response of Oklahoma co-op linemen who are willing to leave their homes for an extended period of time to empower far-away communities. Access to electricity will bring economic empowerment, better access to health care and enhanced safety for these villagers. It’s a life-changing gift.”
“Bringing electricity to remote areas in developing countries takes electric cooperatives back to their roots,” says OAEC General Manager Chris Meyers. “It reinforces our commitment to improve the quality of life for local communities at home and abroad.”
OAEC.coop tells us that a local utility, ADECORK, will generate power to the village through a small hydroelectric plant already available.
How You Can Help!
Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have established a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, The Oklahoma Energy Trails Foundation. Find out more about who these linemen are and how you can support more efforts like these at OAEC.COOP.
In Their Own Words