January 21, 2009
Wayne Wright, longtime rural electric cooperative director, was presented with the Frederick G. Simonton Award at the Mid-West Electric Consumers Association Annual Meeting Dec. 8-12 in Denver.
The Frederick G. Simonton Distinguished Service Award has been awarded since 1986 in memory of Frederick G. Simonton, Mid-West’s executive director for 22 years.
It is awarded to individuals whose exceptional performance has made a difference for the people of the Missouri River Basin and the nationwide federal power program.
Tom Graves, Mid-West Executive Director, feels that Wayne was an obvious choice for the award.
“Wayne Wright epitomizes the commitment and dedication those who recognize the importance of family, community, and cooperatives in the Great Plains,” Graves said.
In 1972, Wright became a director for Spink Electric and joined Northern Electric in 1995 when Spink Electric merged with that cooperative. He has served as a cooperative director for the past 36 years including 24 years at East River, including 15 as president. He retired from the East River Board after the Annual Meeting in September.
In his years working to preserve and advance the cooperative message, Wright’s passion about the important service cooperatives provide is evident.
“As a young man and new director, I didn’t realize what the Rural Electric Cooperative Program meant to the rural people. When I realized the changes that had come about from the REA Program, it became increasingly important to keep those benefits available and capture the benefits of advancing technology for rural consumers,” Wright said.
Wright has experienced many rewarding aspects about representing cooperatives throughout the years, though there is one area he views rises above the rest. “Cooperatives are about the member consumer, not the profit margin,” Wright said.