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Helping At Home And Far Away

Energy-saving team

Grayson Rural Electric Co-op is working with three area organizations to help co-op members finance energy-efficiency projects.

The Northeast Community Action Agency, Frontier Housing, and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development and its Howsmart On-Bill Financing, offer different types of financing assistance. Combined with state and federal tax incentives, and rebate programs through Grayson Rural Electric Co-op, the joint effort can make energy-saving home improvements more affordable.

Under the program, energy use experts develop a plan to insulate a home or business, or upgrade heating and cooling equipment. The program will also help find qualified contractors to do the work, assure it’s done properly, and offer tips for effective operation.

Afghanistan aid via co-op

Lisa Freeman didn’t know how she was going to get 2,600 pounds of donated school supplies from an apartment in Mississippi to a military facility in Indiana and then to children in Afghanistan.

Then electric co-ops rode to the rescue.

United Utility Supply, a Louisville-based co-op that makes and sells transformers and other supplies, offered its semi-trucks for the job.

In 2009, Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Freeman phoned his mother, a retired teacher in Georgia, from Afghanistan. He told her how children there were desperate for paper and pencils, and asked her to start a collection. Two days later, he was killed by a sniper.

To honor her son’s interest, Lisa worked with her local electric co-op and rallied the local Boy Scouts, who sent supplies as part of The Matthew Freeman Project: Pens & Paper for Peace.

Another wave of donations came last fall from the hometown of Matthew’s widow, Theresa. With help from her local electric co-op, the Gulfport High School student council collected more than 5,000 items, filling 38 plastic tubs.

The Gulfport electric co-op asked for help from Touchstone Energy, a national electric co-op network, which turned to United Utility Supply and its fleet of 13 trucks. UUS sent a rig and driver to move the supplies to Camp Atterbury in Indiana, where a military cargo plane took over, finally getting the goods to a girls’ school in the Afghan village of Nangaresh.

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