Waverly Elementary School first graders learned valuable lessons in electric safety on Feb. 26. As part of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative’s commitment to safety and education, Material Handler Alan Carter, left, and Energy Specialist Nathan Wagner, right, used the Electric Junction demonstration to show students how to be safe around electric lines and equipment.

(ARLINGTON, Va.) — The President signed into law S. 2152, the Electrify Africa Act, with strong praise from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and America’s electric cooperatives. Three years after the bill was first introduced, this law will now bring electricity to 50 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and lift rural communities from impoverished conditions to improved economic activity and a higher quality of life. The presidential signature came after passage of the Act in the U.S. House of Representatives last week. This followed the Senate’s unanimous passing of the legislation in December.

“We are celebrating this achievement with all our members, because our domestic and international work has always focused on power distribution, and making it possible for people to have direct access to electricity,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “This new law makes it possible to have a significant impact on the lives of millions, and we are proud to be part of this worthwhile effort to bring power to Sub-Saharan Africa. We applaud and thank the bipartisan leadership of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Ranking Member Sen. Ben Cardin (D-M.D.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who all believe that promoting economic development by expanding access to electricity will benefit people on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Sen. Corker’s leadership on this legislation has been extraordinary,” says David Callis, executive vice president of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “We are looking forward to see the lights come on for millions in rural Africa.”

NRECA’s international affiliate—NRECA International – has worked in developing countries since 1962. Its global commitment has provided electricity to more than 110 million people in 43 countries.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in the United States. Those co-ops provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.

Co-ops from across Tennessee found opportunities to impact their communities this Christmas. Read how below:

Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation

Cumberland EMC offices accepted donations of cold-weather clothing and non-perishable food items to decorate the “Trees of Giving” throughout the month of December. All items collected were delivered to local community assistance agencies who then distributed the items to families and individuals in need. Items were donated by employees, members and various school clubs.


Fayetteville Public Utilities

Fayetteville Public Utilities’ Student Utility Board learns about community service and helping others

The December FPU Student Utility Board meeting included opportunities for the group to give back to the community and help others in need by purchasing gifts for 32 children enrolled at Amana Head Start. The gifts included gloves, toboggans, coloring books, crayons, Hot Wheels cars, bracelets and more.

The youth board also recorded a radio ad for FPU which aired through New Years Day.

“Today we learned how large FPU’s commitment to the community really is,” says Rena Andrews, SUB member. “Thank you so much yet again. Having the opportunity to give back is the most heartwarming and amazing experience. I sincerely appreciate everything the board has done for me.”

“The shopping we did today for the little kids was so much fun,” says Jonathan McLeod. “It feels great to help the kids out in our community. It is such an eye opener. And this is what Christmas is really about.”

Fayetteville Public Utilities and employees help play Santa for needy children

FPU donated their semi-truck driven by Michael Porter and Gerardo Villafuerte to assist the Fayetteville Rotary Club, The Elk Valley Times,  Fayetteville Fire Department and many others in efforts to transport toys to for the Lincoln County Toy Drive.

The FPU truck used to pull the Big G Express trailer is typically used to haul heavy equipment to work sites. Michael and Gerardo teamed up to lend a helping hand with the three nights scheduled for purchasing toys for needy children through the Lincoln County Toy Drive.

On three separate nights, the men accompanied the volunteer shoppers as they purchased toys and other items, helping load the toys in the truck and transporting them to the storage facility for distribution.

“We were glad to help,” says Porter. “The toy drive was very well organized, and it was an enjoyable experience to work with them. I hope to help again. “You think about those kids who are in need, and it makes you proud to be a part of something like this,” says Villafuerte.


Holston Electric Cooperative

For the past nineteen years, Holston Electric Cooperative employees, board members and retirees have served as “Secret Santas,” providing a pizza party in the cooperative auditorium, gifts, and a visit with Saint Nick for Hawkins County foster children. In 2012, HEC provided special Christmas activities for forty-three children from six weeks to thirteen years old.



Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

Adopt a Class Gingerbread Houses

Sandy Qualls’ second grade class at Centerville Elementary School built gingerbread houses with their Adopt-A-Class Sponsor Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative on December 14. From left, front row, Caleb Simpson, Addie-Gene Puckett, Meredith Kelley, Jade Yontz, Trevor Buchanan, Marley Baker. Second row, Julia Daniels, Riley Johnston, Elizabeth Diggers, Bethan Diggers, Kaelinn Trom, Sloan Rochelle. Third row: Keelan Jogan, Weston LaRue, Harmony Dansby, Aaron Sullivan, Devin Rochelle. Back row: MLEC Employees Chad Blackwell, Mike Potts, Eddie Benz, Gene Hal, Steve Skelton and Eric DeVault.

Ornament Contest

A special banquet was held December 7, to honor winners in Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative’s annual ornament contest. It took place in the cooperative’s Touchstone Energy® Conference Center located at their Centerville location.

“It was our biggest year ever with over 130 entries,” says MLEC Member Services Supervisor Vanessa Clayborn. “The students did a great job designing ornaments to resemble everything from reindeer made from light bulbs to peacocks made from pinecones. We hope they had as much fun making them as we did looking at them.”

A first place winner for three grade divisions was recognized in each county served by the Tennessee cooperative. All winners were awarded a $50 gift card. Of all winners present at the banquet, one name was drawn for a family entertainment grand prize. It included a Nintendo Wii with extra controls, Wii games, a personal DVD player, movies, and board games. The winner was Logan Morris of Perry County.

“We started the contest in 2006 as a way to celebrate our youngest members and their families,” says Clayborn. “We are thankful to the schools and parents for encouraging students to participate and learn about their locally-owned utility.”