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Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative celebrates 75 years of “Lighting Your Way”

Excitement filled the Community Center in Isabel as Moreau-Grand Electric held its 75th Annual Membership Meeting on October 6. One hundred and seventy members and guests were treated to a roast beef dinner, received an extension cord as a registration gift, and heard positive reports from board officers – all under the evening’s theme “Lighting Your Way for 75 Years.” Secretary-Treasurer Kelly Landis reported that the co-op contributed more than $800,000 in taxes last year, including nearly $200,000 in taxes paid to schools within the three-county service area. Moreover, Moreau-Grand Electric will return roughly $500,000 in capital credits in December.

General Manager Melissa Maher set the tone of the gathering by offering a glimpse into the past and into the future of the member-owned cooperative. Maher noted that back in 1949, during the cooperative’s early years, there were just 538 meters, six employees, and one vehicle; with a total annual revenue of $8,000. “I think it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way in 75 years,” she said.

While Maher praised the progress of those who played a role in the cooperative’s success over the years, she also shared the organization’s plans to pave the way for future success, including building a new headquarters facility in Timber Lake. “When working on the budget process [at] the end of 2020 – it became apparent that continuing to pour more money into our old facility was not the most cost-effective measure.”

In other matters, Maher reviewed the cooperative’s response to last February’s polar vortex event and introduced Andy and Keva Aberle as MGE’s Good Neighbor Award winners for 2021. She also recognized member Bev Birkeland, who received the 2021 Legacy of Leadership Award, bestowed by the South Dakota Rural Electric Association in Pierre.

In his comments, Board President Larry Hieb spoke of the history of the cooperative and the concern for a reliable power supply for the membership.

In other business, the following board members retained their seats without opposition: Clint Clark, District 1; Larry Hieb, District 3; and Robert Keckler, District 4. Employees and directors were also recognized for their service: Director Troy Wall, five years; Finance Officer Linda Dahlgren, 35 years; Mechanic/Groundman Jody Pateneaude, 20 years; and Billing Supervisor Sue Sherwood, 10 years.

Following the annual meeting, the board held a reorganization meeting for the purpose of electing officers. Those selected were Larry Hieb, President; Kerry McLellan, Vice-President; and Kelly Landis, Secretary-Treasurer.

Vendor-supplied door prizes were delivered to members as follows: 10 members received $75 each memorializing the 75th year; four gift certificates from Country Market; two subscriptions from the Timber Lake Topic; two collectors’ edition bottles of whiskey were donated by Director Landis. 

Playing off the meeting’s main theme, Maher closed by commenting, “There continue to be challenges as we look to the future; material and equipment supply issues are becoming a great concern with lead times with some products out over a year.  As we close in on our 75th year of lighting your way, may the good Lord guide your co-op for many more years to come.”

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