Community Service Is Part of our DNA at VEA

Dozens of Vietnam veterans
Dozens of Vietnam veterans took part in the “Welcome Home” ceremony in March at the Valley Conference Center.

By Vern Hee

As part of its emphasis on the Seven Cooperative Principles, Valley Electric Association encourages its employees to become involved in the communities it serves and to lend a hand wherever they can. VEA and its employees try to do their part to assist efforts like cleaning up the desert, giving a boost to down-and-out veterans or collecting supplies for needy students.

VEA employees are involved in dozens of charitable and civic organizations in our service area, which serves six counties in Nevada and California. Being part of the co-op means taking seriously the Cooperative Principle No. 7 – Concern for the Community.

Foster kids like the ones above benefited by VEA’s involvement in the annual auction for No to Abuse.

Each month, the Valley Electric Board of Directors reviews requests for contributions from charitable organizations in every community within our service territory. In 2018, more than $17,000 in contributions have been distributed.

VEA CEO Angela Evans encourages the co-op to embrace the community.

“VEA is so much a part of the community, and what we do as a group becomes our shield of honor,” says Angela. “We have employees that don’t wait to be asked, they lead. As members of the community they just step right in and volunteer wherever they are needed. For us working with our community speaks volumes about who we are as a Cooperative family and we remain committed to improving the quality of life of our communities.”

The following are some of the activities that VEA has been involved with in the past 12 months:

Scholarships. Each year, VEA promotes higher education by awarding five scholarships totaling $13,000 to students within VEA’s service territory who are pursuing academic, vocational and continued education.

Senior centers. Each December, VEA’s Charitable Foundation, which is funded by employees and members, pays for the cost of power for every senior center in our service area.

School Safety is paramount. VEA sends a Safety team out to the schools annually to teach the students about the dangers of electricity.

VEA Veterans Coining Ceremony. In March, to honor Vietnam Veteran’s Day, VEA hosted a Vietnam “Welcome Home” coining ceremony where nearly 200 Vietnam veterans participated and received a commemorative coin, Vietnam ball cap, and a Vietnam pin. Roses were given to spouses.

Fill the Bucket. For the past 11 years, VEA employees and Ambassadors have hosted a school-supply drive. The community filled 49 buckets – more than 1,000 cubic feet –  in 2018 and distributed supplies to all schools in VEA’s 6,800-square-mile service territory.

Remote Area Medical. VEA staff and Ambassadors joined approximately 250 community volunteers to provide free medical, dental, and vision services at the Remote Area Medical three-day event, where 452 people were served and provided with more than $220,000 in healthcare.

Veteran Stand Down. For the second year, VEA employees participated in an event aimed to assist Veterans in need. VEA handed out 50, $50 power bill credits along with personal hygiene kits to area Veterans.

Intern program. Valley Electric Association believes in the youth in our community and wants to invest in their future. One of the ways VEA shows support for the youth is through VEA’s Student Internship program. Our employees have embraced this program and take mentoring our youth very seriously.

Beatty High School. VEA installed a new scoreboard at the high school football field and fixed the Beatty territory sign, which hadn’t worked in two years.

Court Appointed Special Advocates. The Crab Fest and Quarter Auction were major fundraisers for the organization, and VEA was a major sponsor again in 2018.

Community Christmas Dinner. In an effort to make certain that no one went hungry over the Christmas holidays, VEA sponsored and provided staff support to feed approximately 1,000 people on Christmas Day in 2017. Meals were also delivered to disabled individuals unable to attend the community gathering.

Conference Center. VEA makes available to community nonprofit organization the use of the Valley Conference Center. Dozens of events have been conducted at the center in 2018.

Community Thanksgiving Feast. VEA sponsored and provided staff support to feed more than 1,000 people on Thanksgiving Day 2017 in Pahrump and Sandy Valley. In Pahrump, meals are also delivered to disabled individuals unable to attend the community gathering.

Christmas tree giving. VEA donated eight decorated Christmas trees to needy families.  Each tree came with holiday gifts.

Nye Communities Coalition Hope Run. VEA sponsored the breakfast for the annual run, which serves as a fundraiser for substance abuse prevention programs in the community.

Salvation Army. Every year, VEA sponsors a full day of bell-ringing during the holidays, during which 30 to 40 employees and Ambassadors participate in the effort to raise funds that are used to provide for the needs of members in the community.

4-H. VEA helped the Pahrump 4-H club purchase needed materials to build a competition robot as part of their new robotics club. The robot team made it to the state finals in their first year of competing.

VEA supports Pahrump Valley Rotary Club by donating money to the club so that they could build their 9-11 memorial.

Great Basin College. The school conducted its first ever commencement ceremony at the Valley Conference Center and graduated 41 students.

Trojans Trunk. Each year VEA employees, organized by VEA Purchasing Agent Carole Cusimano, donate clothing and cash donations during the holiday season to this charity.

Poster Contest. The annual poster contest engages and challenges students and is run by the VEA Ambassadors.

No to Abuse. VEA donates money to the annual celebrity auction.

Beatty Days. Each year VEA helps out with a sponsorship of this popular fall event.

Hope Run. VEA donates to this charity and also has a large group of runners and walkers that support this run organized by the Nye Communities Coalition.

Marine Corp League. VEA donated $1,100 to the Marine Corp League color guard so that the unit could buy all new colors.

VEA supports Middle School. Rosemary Clarke Middle School needed assistance to bolster its attendance at the school, and VEA pitched in to help the effort.

Huge stores of school supplies were rounded up with the help of VEA employees and Ambassadors for students in VEA territory.