Sequoyah County Times reports:
Electric Cooperatives of Oklahoma bring power to remote villages in Bolivia
Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CHEC) is pleased to announce the completion of a volunteer electrification project that took place in August 2016 in the Amazonian area of Bolivia. One of CHEC’s linemen and Sallisaw resident, Jeremy Baker, served as one of the project volunteers.
“It was quite the experience,” Baker said. “We were glad to go over there and help, and we would love to do it again.”
The project, named Energy Trails, was a joint partnership between the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Bringing electric service for the first time to two remote villages, the electrification project was made possible through the coordination of National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the NRECA.
On Aug. 1, eight co-op volunteers from around the state left Oklahoma City and headed to Riberalta, Bolivia. Volunteers worked for the next 15 days alongside both Missouri co-op linemen and local lineman from Cooperativa Electrica Riberalta. The project was comprised of 280 poles in an area spanning 10 miles and brought electric service to the villages of Dos de Junio and El Torito in the outskirts of the city of Riberalta. As a result, 361 families now enjoy electricity for the first time.
“Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative is proud to be a part of this life-changing project. Rural electric cooperatives are known for bringing power to areas to would not otherwise enjoy electricity,” Kendall Beck, Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative’s general manager, said. “It’s rewarding to know we made a different in the lives of families who are striving for a better quality of life.”
The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives International Committee, comprised of trustees from the statewide association board, received an overwhelming response from volunteer linemen interested in this project. The Committee is considering future international electrification projects.
Other Oklahoma volunteers serving on the project were: Stacy Bourne (East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Okmulgee); Jason Brown (Rural Electric Cooperative, Lindsay); Larry Cisneros (Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Vinita); Derec Janaway (Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Norman); Damon Lester (Indian Electric Cooperative, Cleveland); Heath Martin (Northfork Electric Cooperative, Sayre); and team leader Wade Hurst (Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, Oklahoma City).
Thank you Oklahoma and Missouri!