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Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative holds second virtual meeting

Several Lawrence County students get scholarships

RIO GRANDE —Because of the pandemic and for the second straight year, Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative (BREC) held its annual meeting virtually on Aug. 14.

Opening remarks by board president Paul Berridge paid tribute to BREC board member Roberta Duncan, who died in November 2020, as well as to former board member Everette Holcomb, who died in January 2021.

Berridge also announced that BREC returned $1.4 million in excess revenue to its members last year, bringing the co-op’s cumulative total since its 1938 inception to $26 million.

BREC Executive Vice President and General Manager Tonda Meadows announced the recipients of the organization’s 2021 scholarship outreach program:

• Emily Schwamberger ($1,500) of Chesapeake High School will attend either Ohio University or Shawnee State University to pursue a nursing degree.

• Madison Wilson ($1,000) of Fairland High School will attend the University of Kentucky to study agriculture and medical biotechnology.

• Noah Wood ($500) of Rock Hill High School will attend Ashland University to study business administration and to run track.

• Elizabeth “Beth” Dial ($2,000) of Scottown was recognized with a technical scholarship from Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives. Dial is enrolled in the registered nurse program at Collins Career Technical Center and currently serves as licensed practical nurse in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Marshall University Medical Center.

• Kiki Barlow ($2,000) of Vinton County High School will attend Capital University as a business management major. Barlow was also awarded a $1,400 scholarship from Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, the Columbus-based statewide trade association that works on behalf of the state’s electric cooperative network.

Meadows went on to report that BREC completed significant “backfeeding” projects last year, which allows the co-op to provide power from additional sources during outages, thereby reducing overall outage periods. BREC also rebuilt and strengthened weakened and heavily loaded power lines in 2020 and added protective devices that improve service reliability.

Meadows further stated that, in 2019, BREC was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission POWER initiative that will provide approximately 70 percent of the necessary funds to install several miles of fiber in the co-op’s service territory. BREC is working with the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission to design a path that will have the greatest impact and benefit to the co-op’s more than 14,500 members. The project will connect most BREC substations and will allow the use of advanced technologies to further enhance service reliability and security. The project will also accommodate broadband expansion to BREC members.

Meadows noted BREC recently achieved the highest member satisfaction score in its history, with scores increasing more than 30 percent since 2006, and BREC remains in good financial condition.

Buckeye Rural Electric C-Op members can watch the meeting at https://www.buckeyerec.coop/index.php/annual-meeting/.