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Big Shoulders

A national award for Kentucky Living rests on a history of well-informed co-op members

The national electric cooperatives group gave its top journalism award to Kentucky Living this spring.

For an editor of a statewide electric co-op magazine like me, receiving the George W. Haggard award (more on George later in the column) is like an actor getting an Academy Award. In this case, the honor recognizes the magazine�s role in helping you, as an electric co-op member, get the information you need to help you understand complicated energy issues, and to use that knowledge to keep your electricity reliable and affordable.

The CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which presents the award, said that in the past year, �The magazine increased its coverage of energy efficiency and developed content to involve readers directly, like the new �On the Grid� section and an annual Energy Guide.�

One of the judges wrote, �Kentucky Living has set a new standard for statewide publications.�

That�s high praise. There are 30 of these magazines around the country and they�re good. Their editors are smart, skilled, and passionate about getting the word out on electric co-ops.

Which brings me back to George Haggard and a phrase I first heard a few years ago: �Standing on the shoulders of giants.�

Haggard worked as a statewide editor in the early days of the electric co-op program, and he encouraged the development of the magazines. He died in a plane crash, along with several officials of the Rural Electrification Administration, in 1951.

That was part of a history that built on itself, as hard workers and visionaries fashioned a foundation that others could climb onto and build even higher. Some of these giants include past and present editors and executives of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives. They include the present-day staff of Kentucky Living�an incredible group that knows how to produce quality and have fun while doing it. They include the leadership of Kentucky�s electric co-ops. And they include a caring and supportive group of readers�that would be you.

That�s my Academy Award-style acceptance speech, acknowledging those who really made the Haggard award possible. Thank you for letting Kentucky Living stand on your shoulders.

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