If you didn’t make it to this year’s annual meeting, you missed a great celebration.
A total of 640 registered members took part in the April 10 meeting. This is the highest registered member attendance since 1979. All members received a lighted outlet cover and a $10 bill credit as a welcome gift. In addition, they enjoyed dinner and entertainment for all ages.
Highlights from the evening included musical entertainment by State Line Drive and pre-meeting magic by Magic Mike. Children were entertained throughout the evening with a magic show and clowns doing face painting and balloon art.
The business meeting portion of the evening began with the presentation of colors and the Pledge of Allegiance by Boy Scout Troop 963 from Valparaiso. Throughout the evening, members voted for three seats up for election on the board of directors.
The theme of this year’s meeting was “Your Cooperative, People in Partnership.” Remarks from the co-op’s leadership throughout the evening highlighted the strong relationships and partnerships that KV REMC has been forming for over eight decades. “We have partnered with local leaders to bring electricity to rural areas, brought economic development to communities, as well as partnered with fellow cooperatives to share ideas, information and workforce,” said Otto Werner, board president, during his welcome to the membership.
Dennis Weiss, CEO for the cooperative, spoke about the most recent partnership discussions: a possible consolidation of KV REMC with Jasper County REMC. “As cooperatives, we live by the ‘Seven Cooperative Principles,’” Weiss said. “Principle Six is ‘Cooperation Among Cooperatives,’ and has always been important to Kankakee Valley REMC.”
He talked about how the two strong cooperatives have worked together through the years sharing technical knowledge and experiences, equipment and supplies. He added, “Jasper County REMC and Kankakee Valley REMC have compatible cultures and a shared mission of keeping rates affordable and electricity reliable to our memberships.”
Earl Ridlen, a representative of LWG CPA’s and Advisors, a firm that works closely with and advises cooperatives during consolidations, told the membership how a consolidation could offer opportunities for improvement for both REMCs. He highlighted three areas — safe and reliable electricity; sound financial position for the members; more cost-efficient electricity — that the directors of both co-ops were carefully considering. The firm also supervises the financial audit of Kankakee Valley REMC.
Additional presentations at the annual meeting included the awarding of Operation Round Up scholarships and a presentation by Don Roberts, a 2017 Honor Flight program participant. Don served our country in the Vietnam War and spoke about the rewarding experience he had going to Washington, D.C., as part of the Honor Flight program.
The meeting ended with the awarding of four $250 cash prizes and five $50 cash prizes to members in attendance. The grand prize, a $4,000 travel voucher, was awarded to member Linda Kumpula of North Judson.