If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the phrase: "Sponsored by Kankakee Valley REMC," I'd probably have enough money to pay half of our cooperative's electric bills. Before I even started my internship, I remember being a part of events and organizations that were not only financially supported by KV REMC, but emotionally supported as well. In fact, I feel comfortable saying that I wouldn't be the person I am today had it not been for the support I received in my extracurriculars as a kid through KV REMC. From my very first impression of the company, it was always clear to me that they made the community a core priority. Now, as an insider, I've learned the true extent of how far this company goes for its member-consumers and towns they serve.
Kankakee Valley REMC is a non-profit member cooperative. What a lot of people don’t understand about cooperatives is that the member-consumers who we serve are also our company owners. This means we are constantly putting our consumers first, no matter what. Putting the consumer first goes hand-in-hand with putting the community first, and Kankakee Valley REMC lives by this idea every single day. From sponsoring local fairs and festivals to cleaning up litter down Highway 30, I found myself doing some sort of community-involved work every single week during my internship.
One of my favorite projects I was a part of was the school supplies drive we held towards the end of the summer. We collected donated school supplies from around the area and stuffed over 150 backpacks for students in need of materials for the upcoming school year. As I packed the bags, my heart ached at the thought of the students who can’t provide themselves with new school supplies. No child should have to ensure that kind of stress. It filled me with a sense of relief knowing that there are companies like KV REMC going above and beyond to help ensure the best education and opportunities for students in our community. It’s just another testimony to how KV REMC goes beyond the call of duty for their members and the betterment of the community. After having worked for a company with such strong community involvement, I’ve felt closer to my hometown and the people I’m surrounded by than ever before. I see myself pursuing work in the future with companies and organizations who uphold these same community values because I honestly couldn’t imagine it any other way. It may sound cliché, but we really are all in this together, and if you’re not for the betterment of your community, then you’re talking to the wrong cooperative.