Emma Neises of Carthage is the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from Basin Electric Power Cooperative based in Bismarck, N.D. She is the daughter of Angie and Curt Neises of Carthage.
Basin Electric awards 176 scholarships per year to children of member cooperative employees and children of member cooperative consumers across the region. Neises’ mother, Angie, works as an Economic Development Finance Specialist for East River Electric Power Cooperative in Madison, a Basin Electric member.
Emma will attend Mount Marty University in Yankton to pursue a degree in psychology. She will be a member of the Mount Marty cross country team and the choir. After college graduation, she will go on to attend an Occupational Therapy school. Throughout her years at Howard High School, Emma was involved in cross country as the team captain and president, track, choir, football cheerleading, wrestling statistics, H club and was the President of the National Honor Society. She also was active in her local church as an organist, accompanist and assisted with community projects. “Thank you for the opportunity to apply for this scholarship,” said Emma. “It will help me reach my goals of pursuing Occupational Therapy.”
“Congratulations to Emma and her family on this wonderful honor,” said East River Electric CEO/General Manager Tom Boyko. “Emma’s dedication to academics, athletics and her community shows her commitment to attaining her goals. We wish Emma well as she continues her education at Mount Marty.”
Since the scholarship program began, over 5,000 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) Tom Boyko, Emma Neises and Angie Neises.
East River employees volunteered their time and talents to help serve 175 meals at the monthly Gathering Meal at the Madison United Methodist Church. Due to COVID-19, a smaller group of employees assisted with preparing, serving and cleaning up after the meal. This is a great chance for our employees to give back and live out the 7th cooperative principle of commitment to community. Thank you to everyone who volunteered at this event!
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.