OEC employees stand up for veterans

Veterans aid of $14k most ever raised

Oconto Electric Cooperative employees worked all year on fundraisers to present $7,000 checks to Old Glory Honor Flights and the Patriot Guard Riders of Wisconsin. (Contributed photo)

Oconto Electric Cooperative (OEC) employees will be giving back to U.S. veterans with a donation of $14,000, the greatest amount of money that OEC employees have raised since their charity program began in 2004.

Donations were split between Old Glory Honor Flight and Patriot Guard Riders of Wisconsin.

OEC employees worked all year to raise $9,000. The largest events were the charity golf outing, a motorcycle ride and the “Bag Lunch To Go” program. CoBank, one of the co-op’s lenders, also donated $5,000 as part of its Sharing Success program.

“In March, we held our popular Bag Lunch To Go. We delivered 330 bag lunches to businesses in the community within two hours, 100 more than the previous year,” said Katie Jagiello, co-op employee. “People enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich and the fact that lunch is delivered to them at their workplace, and that all proceeds go to charity.”

Old Glory Honor Flight is dedicated to transporting local World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials built in their honor. It is a one-day trip and completely free to the veterans. Old Glory Honor Flight is funded primarily from individuals across Northeast Wisconsin.

The Patriot Guard Riders of Wisconsin is an all-volunteer organization that provides support for active military personnel, veterans and their families. Their main mission is to honor fallen heroes, their families and communities by attending memorial services and funerals. They also participate in ceremonies and events to welcome our troops home from overseas, or to give them a resounding show of support when they leave the states for foreign countries.

In 2016, they were able to bring some hope and Christmas cheer to 550 veterans and military families through their Operation Christmas Angel program. They are completely funded by donations and, other than minor administrative expenses, all funds directly benefit those they serve.

Funds raised by OEC employees will go toward their Help on the Homefront Services. Under this program, they provide the essentials for veterans who have completed rehabilitation programs and are again contributing to society. Most often, veterans leave the VA recovery programs with very little. Patriot Guard Riders provide veterans with a bed, bedding, tables, chairs, TV, entertainment center and kitchenware, all of which is usually donated by individuals. When there is a lack of donated goods, Patriot Guard Riders will use monetary donations to purchase items for the veterans.

This is the 13th year that co-op employees have raised funds for designated charities. Including this donation, they have raised a total of $82,000.

“I think it is pretty cool that a lot of money has been raised by our small co-op of 40 some employees/directors,” said OEC employee Amy Winkler. The employees at OEC are grateful for the support that the community and OEC members give to the charity.

OEC employees are seeking grant applications for its annual Employee Charity program. The application period is open now until Nov. 30. Funds will be dispersed late 2018 or early 2019. Organizations that are classified as exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code with a valid IRS Tax ID are eligible to apply for the grant.

Interested applicants can find the application at www.ocontoelectric.com or can pick it up at Oconto Electric Cooperative at 7479 REA Road, Oconto Falls.