East River Electric Cooperative’s Madison crews removed a large evergreen tree from Dakota State University’s campus to be donated as the Community Christmas Tree. They transported the tree from campus to the Dairy Queen parking lot. Employees from the City of Madison assisted East River in setting the tree. The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Community Christmas Tree lighting on Saturday, December 5. Watch the Chamber’s Facebook page for a livestream of the lighting ceremony.
East River employees participated in a Thanksgiving food drive for the Lake County Food Pantry. Employees donated a combination of groceries and over $100 in cash to provide 24 complete Thanksgiving meals for local families. The meals included ham, dressing, potatoes and gravy, side dishes and desserts. Thank you to the Employees Committee for organizing the food drive.
East River Electric Power Cooperative donated a total of $20,000 to four local organizations through CoBank’s Sharing Success program, which is a matching grant program. The four organizations that received donations from East River include Bethel Lutheran Home Foundation, Dream Factory, Inc., Valiant Living and the Veteran’s Honor Park.
“We are proud to be able to support these important local organizations by utilizing funds from CoBank’s Sharing Success program,” said East River Employees Committee Chair Sam Anderson. “The seventh cooperative principle is concern for community and these donations are one way that East River continues to live out that important principle.”
East River donated $3,250 to the Bethel Lutheran Home Foundation and CoBank matched that donation. The Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home provides long term and assisted care to residents in the Madison community and surrounding areas. The Bethel Lutheran Home Foundation Board of Directors will determine where the combined donation will be used to best aid residents through equipment and technology improvements or facility upgrades during their upcoming quarterly meeting.
“This donation speaks volumes to our residents, families and staff of the support and compassion East River Electric employees have toward our ministry of care provided to residents and families,” said Bethel’s Development Director Rosie Jamison. “We are humbled by your generosity and interest in helping us meet our needs for quality care through increased resources.”
East River also donated $3,250 to the Dream Factory, Inc., with a matched donation from CoBank. The Dream Factory is an all-volunteer driven children’s wish-granting organization that does not limit its mission to children who have life-threatening illness.
“We are working to help Bennet and Anya, who both live with medical conditions that make everyday life a struggle, to reach their dreams of going to Disney World,” said Dream Factory Volunteer Nancy Stoffel. “This donation is a miracle and couldn’t have come at a better time. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, our fundraisers have been cut by over 50 percent. Thank you for this amazing donation.”
Valiant Living received a $2,500 donation from East River, with a CoBank match. Valiant Living is headquartered in Madison and is a private, non-profit community-based organization which focuses on serving people with disabilities. For over 40 years, they have encouraged and supported individuals by helping them reach their goals and bravely live the life they choose.
“Your donation will help the replacement of a handicap accessible wheelchair van which is much needed at Valiant Living,” said Valiant Living Executive Director Donna Uthe. “This will help make transportation more comfortable and reliable for the people supported. Thank you for this very generous donation. Your donation and support are very much appreciated.”
The Veteran’s Honor Park received a $1,000 donation from East River, with a match from CoBank. East River has pledged to continue this donation for five years, for a total of $10,000. In 2018, Jerry and Sue Larsen donated a plot of land to the VFW Post 2638 and American Legion Post 25 to construct an Honor Park in Madison to honor all veterans. A committee of volunteers from both organizations is raising funds to construct two memorial walls at the park.
“Thank you for the generous donation,” said 1st Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 25, Dan Fritz. “Our committee made several plans for fundraisers that did not pan out due to the 2019 flood and 2020 pandemic. This donation will greatly help our fundraising efforts.”
For many years, East River has utilized funds through the CoBank Sharing Success program to support local organizations. The Sharing Success program doubles the contributions of its customers to the charitable organizations and causes that they care most about. Since Sharing Success was established in 2012, CoBank and its customers have together contributed more than $44 million to various organizations.
“CoBank has committed $5 million in 2020 to local communities through our Sharing Success program,” said Jake Good, vice president at CoBank. “We are proud to work with East River Electric Power Cooperative to provide help and support to Madison and its surrounding communities.”
PHOTO CUTLINE – Valiant Living accepted the check in front of their new handicap accessible van. Left to right: Kathy Hamberger (Person Supported), Malissa Cleveland (Residential Director) and Donna Uthe (Executive Director).
The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce recently honored Liz Avery, Human Resources & Administration Manager at East River Electric Power Cooperative, with the Distinguished Service Award. The award is given to a Chamber Member who shows positive leadership skills and willingness to serve the Chamber and the greater Madison area and community. Avery served on the Chamber Board of Directors for six years and held the position of Board President for the last two years. She has shown outstanding service to the Madison community. “I am honored and humbled to be recognized by my peers for service that I’ve not viewed as something distinguished at all,” said Avery. “It’s been an honor and a ton of fun meeting new people and working together to achieve our common goals and to have a positive impact on our community–this place we call home!” Travis Olson, Transmission Manager at East River, currently serves on the Madison Chamber Board of Directors and presented the award to Liz.
Mason Avery of Madison is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from Basin Electric Power Cooperative based in Bismarck, N.D. He is the son of Rich and Liz Avery of Madison.
Basin Electric awards 180 scholarships per year to children of member cooperative employees across the region. Avery’s mother, Liz, works as the Human Resources and Administration Manager for East River Electric Power Cooperative in Madison, a Basin Electric member.
Mason will attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to pursue a double major in Actuarial Science and Mathematics with a minor in Statistics. He was selected as one of only forty students for the Business Honors Academy at UNL. Throughout high school, Mason was very involved in band (marching, jazz and concert), football, basketball, track and field, Future Business Leaders of America and the National Honor Society. He also was active in Boy Scouts, reaching the honor of Eagle Scout, and volunteering with his local church. “I’d like to thank Basin and East River for making this scholarship possible,” said Mason. “This award will help me reach my goals. I look forward to attending UNL in the fall.”
“We congratulate Mason and his family on this incredible honor,” said East River Electric CEO/General Manager Tom Boyko. “Mason’s commitment to academics, athletics and his community shows his dedication to attaining his goals. We wish Mason well as he continues his education at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.”
Since the scholarship program began, over 3,000 students in the Basin Electric system have benefited from this program. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic record, potential to succeed, leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, a statement of education and career goals and an outside appraisal by a teacher or adviser.
Cutline: (Left to Right) Liz Avery and Mason Avery with his scholarship certificate.
East River welcomes the public to attend the 56th annual Mountain Oyster Feed at Nicky’s in Madison on Thursday, March 12 with serving beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Proceeds from the event will once again benefit LifeScape, formerly Children’s Care Hospital and School and SD Achieve, whose mission it is to empower children and adults with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives. With more than $275,000 contributed to LifeScape over the years, East River’s Annual Mountain Oyster Feed has helped provide for the very best in medical care, therapy, education and other services for the children at LifeScape.
“Support from the East River Electric Oyster Feed makes a significant difference in the lives of children and adults with complex care needs. The money raised through this event helps Madison-area children and families supported by LifeScape. Funds raised through this outpouring of community support helps provide therapy and education equipment and supplies, staff training, job coaching for individuals supported, and camp scholarships among other supports,” said Jessica Wells, LifeScape Foundation president. “We look forward to this event each year and are grateful the Madison community and East River Electric employees continue to support empowering people to live their best life!”
The event’s menu will include mountain oysters, pork sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw and dessert. There will be a raffle, door prizes, silent auction and 50-50 tickets.
“Every year the East River Employees’ Committee seeks out donations of any kind and every year the community steps up in supporting our cause and making this event a success,” said Sam Anderson, East River Employees’ Committee chairperson. “East River takes pride in our community and is committed to benefiting non-profits in our area such as LifeScape.”