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Local electric cooperatives recognized

Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative won the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Cooperative Purpose Award. SMEC members in attendance to receive the award pictured, from left, are Ron Horman of Redwood Electric Cooperative in Clements; Elaine Garry of People’s Energy Cooperative in Oronoco; Mike Heidemann of Brown County Rural Electrical Association in Sleepy Eye; Brian Krambeer of MiEnergy Cooperative in Rushford; Wade Hensel, of BENCO Electric Cooperative in Mankato; Tim McCarthy of Sioux Valley Energy in Colman, South Dakota; Syd Briggs of Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric in Owatonna; Scott Reimer of Federated Rural Electric; and Adam Troblay of Nobles Cooperative Electric in Worthington. – Provided

Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services and MiEnergy Cooperative, with 10 other electric distribution cooperatives, were awarded the Cooperative Purpose Award by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The award is given for outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life and purpose of the cooperatives in their communities.

In 2013, Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative was formed by 12 electric distribution cooperatives to be the single point of contact for the purchase of Alliant Energy’s Minnesota electric service territory. SMEC engaged their local communities and business leaders through a grassroots campaign to educate them on the cooperative advantage.

In 2015, the acquisition was finalized and SMEC welcomed more than 43,000 new members in the cooperative community.

“The 12 cooperatives of SMEC perfectly exemplify the sixth cooperative principle, cooperation among cooperatives,” said Mel Coleman, NRECA president. “I applaud SMEC for their perseverance, leadership and concern for community.”