By Kent Singer
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a tough year in Colorado. With an unprecedented pandemic, the closing of many businesses, wildfires, windstorms, social unrest and political turmoil, this year has been an unrelenting test of our collective resolve. With the holidays fast approaching, though, maybe we should take a breath and count our blessings.
I’m especially thankful for:
• All my friends and colleagues who work for Colorado’s electric co-ops to keep the lights on every day. This year in particular, the challenges of providing electricity to rural communities have been great. Please thank your co-op staff for a job well done.
• All the doctors, nurses, hospital workers, food preparers, dishwashers, grocery store stockers, trash haulers and many others who kept our essential services available at great personal risk to themselves and their families over the last eight months.
• Living in a city and state where, after a short drive, I can watch the elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, enjoy a concert at Red Rocks, climb a 14er, ski A-Basin, bike Lookout Mountain or cast a fly in a mountain stream. Only in Colorado.
• The Denver Nuggets, a true basketball team with a bunch of guys whose hearts are even bigger than their talent.
• Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Joe Morgan and the other great baseball players of my youth who have gone to the Field of Dreams this year. Where I grew up, the teachers would set up black-and-white televisions to watch the afternoon World Series games featuring these Hall of Fame players. Farewell and Godspeed to them all.
• My co-workers at the CREA who work hard every day to support our electric co-op partners with safety, communications, education and government relations services; you’re the best.
• Rising trout on the Frying Pan River.
• Working with incredible co-op leaders like Jim Lueck of Highline Electric Association who, despite being seriously injured in a farm accident, still attends board meetings and provides direction to CREA and our team.
• Watching the amazing Nolan Arenado make the impossible play look routine. (Hope this season was not his last hurrah with the Rockies.)
• Our right to vote.
• All the firefighters, law enforcement personnel and other first responders who risked their lives to protect Colorado residents and communities during the many fires and other emergencies that have occurred this year.
• Living in a country where most folks work every day to make a living, care for their families and try to make their communities better places to live. Is it perfect? No, but it’s still the best nation on earth.
• Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie.
• The opportunity to travel all across Colorado. While those travels have been somewhat limited this year, I’m thankful for the chance to attend the in-person annual meetings held by Yampa Valley Electric Association and Empire Electric Association. (The next time you’re in Cortez, try the chile rellenos at Gustavo’s!)
• The privilege of working with our friends at the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives and NRECA International to send Colorado and Oklahoma line crews to central and south America to bring electricity to people living in remote villages. The motto of the electric co-op program is that co-ops power communities and empower individuals; the International Program is a way for Colorado’s electric co-ops to show their commitment to these principles.
• I’m thankful to the many scientists and researchers who are developing treatments and vaccines that will one day bring us all back together.
• And of course, I’m thankful for my wife, sister, family and friends. It’s been a crazy year where getting together has been nearly impossible. Once this pandemic is solved, we’ll have a lot of catching up to do.
All of us at CREA hope you and yours are safe and healthy and that your blessings are abundant this Thanksgiving.
Kent Singer is the executive director of the Colorado Rural Electric Association and offers a statewide perspective on issues affecting electric cooperatives. CREA is the trade association for your electric co-op, the 21 other electric co-ops in Colorado and its power supply co-op.