In February 2020, when U.S. Navy veteran Roberta “Ro” Haight saw a Facebook post about ECE’s connection to the No Barriers Warriors program through CoBank, she felt compelled to apply. “I wanted to become stronger through adversity while seeking adventure,” Ro shares.
The No Barriers Warriors program is meant to transform lives through curriculum-based experiences in challenging environments. It also fosters camaraderie, helps veterans push through adversity, and offers a sense of community. Veterans with disabilities can apply to attend the program, which includes a five-day expedition in Colorado. Activities are tailored to accommodate disabilities.
Ro and her wife Paula became ECE members in 1993 and lived in Ann Lake, MN. Ro worked in the Ogilvie and Mora school districts and was a long-time Master Gardener in Kanabec County. After raising their now-grown daughter, Heather, and becoming a proud grandma to Robby and Scarlett, Ro found herself ready to tackle some of her own personal obstacles as both a veteran and civilian.
Her application was approved for 2020, but COVID-19 kept the outdoor adventure experience from happening. Instead, a virtual “Warriors At Home” expedition was offered in the fall, keeping the pandemic from completely interrupting the program. “Four of us spent an hour to two hours, every week for six weeks, going through the No Barriers book and talking about our lives,” Ro explains. “We built a virtual community which gave all of us an increased sense of purpose.”
After connecting virtually, Ro was thrilled to attend the July 2021 in-person base expedition in pristine Red Feathers Lake, Colorado, where she got to meet her newfound friends face-to-face. Of the twelve participants, four were members of a cooperative.
Surrounded by mountain peaks, the camp was a playground for Ro and her fellow veterans. “We hiked to beautiful Lake Agnes,” she recounts. “Class III and IV-level white water rafting on the Cache la Poudre River was amazing. We spent a day rock climbing and scrambling on a private crag. We also had breakout sessions as part of the curriculum, and nighttime found us around the campfire where we were able to connect and share our stories.”
“No Barriers created and designed an experience that challenged me to think about where I was in my life,” Ro reflects. “I learned strategies to acknowledge my own personal obstacles, and found the drive to overcome physical and mental barriers that might be holding me back. I realized it’s important for me to step outside my wheelhouse and continue to grow, no matter what my age! This program helped us all connect with other veterans in a meaningful way.”
Do you know a veteran with a positive attitude and a willingness to overcome challenges? Details are still in progress for the 2022 No Barriers Warriors program, so watch our website and Facebook page in the coming months.
Aside from representing other members’ best interests, our twelve board members also manage ECE policies, review the budget, hire the President/CEO, and monitor progress of the strategic plan. Here are 5 reasons YOU should apply for your cooperative’s board of directors!
TEAMWORK Working collaboratively with fellow board members and ECE staff is rewarding. Brainstorming is a good opportunity for the team to exchange ideas and come up with creative ways of doing things. By working together, the board finds solutions that work best for our members.
COMMITMENT Board members do much more than prep for, and attend, one board meeting per month. They make time for industry conferences and training, as well as committee assignments, and participate in community events. Board members spend an average of 20 hours doing ECE business each month.
TECHNOLOGY We’re part of an ever-evolving industry, so board members must be willing to utilize new technologies. In fact, each one uses an iPad for co-op business. Since the pandemic, many of our meetings have become hybrid. Embracing technology helps further productivity and innovation.
EDUCATION New directors are expected to become a Credentialed Cooperative Director during their first term by completing approximately 30 hours of training. They are encouraged to stay abreast of issues affecting the electric cooperative industry and continue their cooperative education. We also stress the importance of the 7 Cooperative Principles, which guides the board in its decision-making.
IMPACT Decisions made by the board impact 63,000 members. Directors take this responsibility very seriously. The board focuses on setting policy, which the President/CEO then uses to manage and operate the cooperative.
Do you have proven leadership skills? Consider running for your district’s open board seat! If you live in District 1, 3, or 6 and are interested in becoming a nominee, please review the ECE Bylaws, which specify the eligibility requirements you must meet. Then contact us for a director nomination packet at 1-800-254-7944, ext. 8046. Don’t delay! The packet must be completed and returned by 10 a.m. February 15.
Space heaters can provide affordable comfort if used for a short time to heat a small space, but one heater can add more than $100 per month to your electric bill. See how you can monitor your energy use with SmartHub here.
If you’re trying to compensate for inefficiencies in your home, taking these proactive energy-saving measures (rather than relying on space heaters for supplemental warmth) can reduce your heating bills for years to come.
- Replace your HVAC or furnace filter regularly to help the system run more efficiently.
- Caulk and weatherstrip around all windows and doors to prevent heat loss.
- Consider adding insulation to your attic and around duct work.
ECE has programs that can be used with your existing system to reduce your heating costs. Contact one of our energy specialists at 1-800-254-7944 today!
More than 25,000 residential fires are associated with the use of space heaters every year. If you must use a space heater, purchase a model that includes the most current safety features and carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
To help the fire departments that faithfully serve our members, we’re donating $105,000 to 25 departments across our 14-county service area. Read more.
Every year, thousands of pets around the country are given as gifts during the holiday season. If your family has a furry addition, please “paws” to pet-proof your home.
- Cover or enclose electrical cords.
- Keep loose electrical cords unplugged or tucked out of sight.
- Do not allow pets to curl up behind warm computer equipment or other electrical items.
Remember, what may seem like a mild shock to an adult may be enough to kill a small pet!
There are times in life when we make a decision and then weeks, months, or even years later, circumstances change. If we exercise humility in those situations, we may have the opportunity to make a better choice, with more information. That was the case recently for ECE regarding our position on broadband internet. Read more.