Georgia Electric Membership Corporation named Coastal EMC in Midway the Electric Co-op of the Year during November’s annual meeting of EMCs in Augusta. The local EMC also received the 2013 Georgia Electric Membership Corporation Community Service and Volunteerism Award.
Georgia Electric Membership Corporation is the statewide association of Georgia’s 42 electric cooperatives, said Mark Bolton, Coastal EMC vice president of communications, marketing and economic development. Bolton said the award is based on a co-op’s “involvement in the communities they serve and the volunteerism of the co-op employees.”
“There is no monetary award, just a nice pat on the back to the co-op and its employees,” he said. “Although Coastal Electric received this award in November, CEO Whit Hollowell held the surprise and presented it to all of the employees and directors at the employee Christmas luncheon held at our office on Dec. 18.”
As a reward for the Community Service and Volunteerism Award, a donation in Coastal EMC’s name will be made to the charity of its choice, Bolton said. Nominations for this award were reviewed by an independent panel of judges.
With its co-op of the year award application, Coastal EMC submitted several video clips of community work it sponsored, the CEO said.
“One (video clip) was the Bright Ideas Prize Team,” he said. “The other was granting a ‘bucket list’ dream for a lady (Ella Passmore) in a local nursing home on her 107th birthday.”
The Coastal Electric Cooperative Bright Ideas prize team visited seven Liberty County School System educators in October, giving out a total of $22,000 in grants to area teachers and counselors for their cutting-edge projects. The prize team made 15 presentations in Bryan, Liberty and McIntosh counties last fall. The Bright Ideas educational-grant program is funded by the members of Coastal Electric Cooperative through Operation RoundUp, according to Bolton.
“Since the program began in 2002, $170,000 has been given to educators for more than 165 projects benefitting well over 29,700 students,” he said.
“The contributions by Coastal Electric are so numerous that it’s difficult to capture all of them,” said Bill Verner, vice president of external affairs with Georgia EMC. “But it’s safe to say that at every level in the organization, the responsibility to serve is enormous and their contributions reach every corner of the community —whether it’s through civic, cultural, educational, humanitarian or patriotic assistance.”
Coastal EMC and its foundation contribute to the communities of Southeast Georgia and the state by providing leadership in economic development, tourism, education, school and youth programs, charitable giving and community support, according to Verner.
Coastal EMC supports local chapters of national organizations like Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, as well as focusing on needs within the community, Bolton said.
He cited support of the Matthew Freeman Project, a project that collects and transports school supplies to school children in Afghanistan.
The Matthew Freeman Project: Pens and Paper for Peace was established by Richmond Hill resident and teacher Lisa Freeman in honor of her son, U.S. Marine Capt. Matthew Freeman, who was killed in action Aug. 7, 2009, in Afghanistan.
Bolton also mentioned the co-op’s partnership with Georgia Transmission Corporation to build a new 115 kV transmission line across an expanse of fragile salt marsh in coastal Georgia with little disruption to the environment.
Coastal EMC also has supported the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation, Keep Liberty Beautiful, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Boy Scouts of America, St. James Youth Service, Gridiron Club of Richmond Hill, Coastal Conservation Association, Walthourville Seniors Easter-egg hunt, McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce golf tournament and the Hay Smiley Memorial Fund, he said.
In addition to Coastal EMC’s accolades, several area students represented the co-op on the 2013 Washington Youth Tour.
This annual youth leadership tour is sponsored by Georgia’s electric cooperatives. Local delegates from last year’s tour included Alyssa Scarboro of Richmond Hill, Summer Mehalko of Midway and Amelia Stevens of Darien. These high-school students spent time in Atlanta, and then visited memorials, monuments and museums in Washington, D.C.
“When you are being yourself, you give others the permission to do the same,” Scarboro said in the January issue of GEMC’s Georgia Magazine. She, Mehalko and Stevens are featured on the cover of the magazine’s regional edition.
The 2014 Washington Youth Tour is scheduled for June 12-19. For an application or more information, call Coastal EMC at 912-884-3311 or 1-800-421-2343 or go to coastalemc.com.