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Indiana’s electric cooperatives honor youth for community service


Electric Consumer, the statewide publication of Indiana’s electric cooperatives, recently honored the winners of its annual Youth Power and Hope Awards contest.

One of LaGrange County REMC’s members, Rachel Weaver of Shipshewana, was a Youth Power and Hope Award winner for 2012.

She is the daughter of Robert and Melany Weaver and is a home-schooled eighth grader. She helps teach after school Bible study at a local elementary, mails cards on Veterans Day, and serves Christmas dinner to veterans and their families as part of her involvement with the Children of the American Revolution. However, one of her most rewarding activities is teaching piano to a local woman who is blind and handicapped.

The contest, open to Indiana youth in 5-8 grades residing in the service territory of an electric cooperative, emphasizes the important role young Hoosiers play in their communities.

Each entrant completed an entry form, submitted an essay regarding community service, provided examples of his or her community involvement, and included a letter of reference. A panel of judges then selected five award winners. Those winners were honored at the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting on Dec. 4 in Indianapolis.

Joining Indiana’s electric cooperatives to recognize these exemplary community servants was Josh Bleill. Bleill is a Purple Heart recipient and a community spokesperson for the Indianapolis Colts. Bleill was severely injured while serving in Iraq as a U.S. Marine. He detailed his inspirational journey in his book, One Step At A Time.

As part of the association’s annual meeting, the award recipients attended a special ceremony and a private reception with Bleill. The students were also profiled in the December issueofElectric Consumer.

 “Commitment to community is a core principle of electric cooperatives,” said Emily Schilling, Electric Consumer editor. “Electric Consumer was proud to recognize five outstanding individuals who have made their area of the state a better place. We hope their stories inspire others to become more involved in their communities.”