Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota honored some of the area’s most impressive high school seniors Saturday, April 28, during the 16th annual Touchstone Energy Scholar of the Year banquet and recognition on the campus of Lake Area Technical Institute.
The event honored the 33 high school students who were chosen each week throughout the school year as the Touchstone Energy Scholar of the Week. It’s a program which recognizes students for academic achievement, co-curricular involvement and community service. The students are featured in weekly segments which air on KSFY Television and each student receives a $100 scholarship for being chosen as the Scholar of the Week.
Nathan Hulscher, a senior at Florence High School within Codington-Clark Electric’s service territory, was selected during the banquet as the Touchstone Energy Scholar of the Year. Hulscher, who plans to attend Augustana University in the fall, received a $1,000 scholarship. Trevor Case, a senior at Webster Area High School within Lake Region Electric’s service territory, and Alexander Palecek, a senior at Yankton High School within Clay-Union Electric’s service territory, were both chosen to receive $500 scholarships. The names were drawn from among the attendees.
Lake Area Technical Institute’s President Michael Cartney was the keynote speaker for the Scholar of the Year banquet. KSFY News anchor Brian Allen served as the master of ceremonies.
Touchstone Energy Cooperatives in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota provide safe and reliable electricity to more than 113,000 homes and businesses. The cooperatives have sponsored the Scholar of the Week program since 2002. In that time Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have awarded over $80,000 in scholarships as part of the Scholar of the Week program.
East River Electric’s 54th annual Mountain Oyster Feed was a success, raising $24,500 for LifeScape, an organization which promotes independence for over 2,500 children and adults with disabilities throughout South Dakota. The event was held at Nicky’s Restaurant in Madison on April 4 and was attended by 470 people.
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. Several local children and people from around the region are served by LifeScape.
“The charity event was very successful and a direct tribute to our employees fulfilling our Touchstone Energy Cooperatives principle of Commitment to Community,” said East River General Manager Tom Boyko. “I want to thank our employee committee who really stepped up and organized the event. Thanks also to everyone who helped prepare, serve, clean-up and attended the event.”
The East River Employees Committee donated $1,000, a total matched by East River Electric at $1,000. CoBank also contributed $2,000 to the event this year. In the 54 years since the East River fundraiser began, $250,000 has been raised to help LifeScape provide services to children and adults in rural South Dakota.
Leveraging a matching grant opportunity provided by CoBank, East River’s Employees Committee recently donated $10,000 to Valiant Living, a local non-profit organization in Madison that serves people with disabilities. The Employees Committee, which raises money throughout the year from employees for charitable giving, donated $5,000 and CoBank matched that amount. The donation will be used by Valiant Living to purchase much needed equipment. We want to thank our friends at CoBank for their matching donation that will make a real impact in the Madison community.
In the photo: Jeff Nelson (back, left), Jacob Slaathaug, Andrew Hora, Joe Henderson and Elliott Shoup-Owens; (front, left) Megan Rummel, Cathy Olinger, Connie Daniel, Amber Coomes, Jim Rook, Jessica Haak and Bob Sahr.
East River donated $1,500 to the Lake County Food Pantry to help support families in need during the holiday season using funds collected by East River’s Employees Committee and cash donated by the cooperative’s employees.
On the weekend of December 17, the food pantry delivered food and gifts to over 170 local families as part of their holiday program. The Employees Committee at East River Electric coordinated the donation.
Melissa Johnson, East River’s employees committee president, said, “It’s important to help support the food pantry because kids deserve a joyful Christmas and we’re proud to help in that effort.”
East River’s Employees Committee also donated hams and food boxes at Thanksgiving to help needy families.
Lake County Food Pantry Board President Jeff Nelson said, “I can’t thank the East River employees enough for their generosity. We distribute a lot of food this time of year and every donation makes an impact on our ability to keep helping people.”
Leveraging a matching grant opportunity provided by CoBank, East River donated $10,000 to the Lake County Domestic Violence Network’s capital campaign drive in December. East River donated $5,000 and CoBank matched that amount.
East River Electric General Manager Tom Boyko said, “The opportunity CoBank provides by matching our donation means an extra dollar on the dollar, which is substantial. East River is proud to help support the Domestic Violence Network as they begin their capital campaign.”
Domestic Violence Network Executive Director Christy VanDeWetering said she was thrilled to receive such a large donation which brings the organization one-fourth of the way to fulfilling its capital campaign goal of $200,000 for a community shelter.
VanDeWetering said the Domestic Violence Network is currently renting a shelter but they have outgrown the space. The organization also uses hotels for short-term shelter and helps individuals relocate to other shelter locations when needed. The Domestic Violence Network is hoping to use funds raised by the capital campaign to purchase a three bedroom home with larger bedrooms to use as a community shelter so families may stay together in one bedroom. VanDeWetering said the Domestic Violence Network helps an average of 100 people a year and the average stay in the shelter is about three weeks.