CEO’s Message – November 2022

So very thankful!

Anthony Smith headshotDuring the Thanksgiving season, it’s common to focus on gratitude. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for, and I’m sure that you do, too. Experts agree that writing down the blessings you are grateful for is emotionally healthy. So why not take a few moments and intentionally consider all your blessings, even some of those we may normally take for granted?

I’ve mentioned before that when our children were young, each autumn evening in November, we would gather at the kitchen table and cut construction paper in the shape of leaves and then write something we were thankful for on the paper leaf. Every night, we’d place those paper leaves on the door to slowly build a big colorful tree.

This was a great way to start a conversation with our kids about gratitude and appreciation. As an adult, I still sometimes need a reminder to carefully consider all the blessings I might otherwise take for granted. That’s part of what makes Thanksgiving so special.

One thing that would always come up was that our girls were thankful for all the people working to make sure our electricity stays on. I’m sure my job at the co-op had a lot to do with that one, but wow — talk about something most of us take for granted. In fact, it takes an enormous number of people working in all different professions to keep the lights on and the heat flowing. In addition, we are very thankful for the value of electricity and being able to keep costs as low as possible.

When it comes to providing reliable and affordable electric and natural gas service, it’s important to realize it takes more than just the employees of URE to do it. We are members of several organizations that share resources to provide much needed support to our operations.

I’m thankful that our power supplier, Buckeye Power, is working hard every day to keep the cost of power as affordable as possible, and also that since they are owned by the distribution cooperatives that they serve, like URE, they have no external profit incentive. I’m also thankful for our sister distribution cooperatives around the state and the nation.

A defining characteristic of a cooperative and one of the 7 cooperative principles is Cooperation Among Cooperatives. When a severe weather event is predicted for our region, we may call on our sister co-ops in areas unaffected by the approaching storm. Through this system of mutual aid, we coordinate with other co-ops to bring additional trucks, equipment, and manpower to our area. We work together and share resources to restore power to our community. And URE reciprocates by assisting other electric co-ops when they request help, both in Ohio and across the nation.

This Thanksgiving season, I encourage you to take some time and write your own gratitude list. Even if it doesn’t come naturally, don’t let that stop you from giving thanks. We all have much to be thankful for — and for a cooperative like URE, our members are at the top of that list.

Anthony Smith