August 2019 LightREADING Newsletter

Download: August 2019 Light Reading (PDF)


Flathead Community Foundation grant to have broad impact


“This money will benefit the entire community and we’re excited to put it to work.” That’s according to Judy Sommers, former Executive Director of the Flathead Community Foundation (FCF). FCF was recently awarded a check for $7,500 from CoBank, a cooperative banking associate of Flathead Electric Co-op (FEC). FEC applied for the grant through a CoBank program that provides charitable contributions to rural communities.

The Flathead Community Foundation is a public, charitable, nonprofit organization established in 2005 by local community members who loved the Valley, were committed to its best future, and knew that their friends and neighbors were as well. FCF was created to encourage philanthropic giving and to make it as effective and easy as possible. Sommers’ motto is: “You make the difference…we make it happen.”

“The Foundation connects donors from all walks of life with the broad spectrum of charitable organizations that are enriching life in the Flathead area. We are a bridge between the generous people who want to give and the dedicated people who use these gifts to make our community the place we love to call home. This donation from CoBank, through Flathead Electric Cooperative, will help children separated from their families; young athletes participate in youth sports programs; law enforcement protect our citizens and the promotion of our arts and local history. It will even help feed the hungry in our community, so we are incredibly grateful.”

The FCF website cites Wendall Berry, an American novelist, poet, essayist, and recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Sommers says the quote exemplifies the Foundation’s philosophy:

“A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.” — Wendell Berry.

Donations to the Flathead Community Foundation are always welcome. For more information call (406) 756-9047.


It’s time to Do it Again, Gang!

Flathead Electric Cooperative’s Second Annual Pulse Project

For this year’s Pulse Project, we are partnering with both of our local blood service organizations, the American Red Cross and Vitalant, for a two-day event:



September 11th – Red Cross Blood Drive at Flathead Electric Co-op

September 12th – Vitalant Blood Drive at Vitalant headquarters, across the street from Flathead Electric Co-op

Last year, members like you helped us collect a Montana community record 139 pints of blood, attract 47 first time donors, and raise over $13,000 in energy assistance funding, which helped 70 Co-op members facing a temporary financial crisis. For more information or to make a donation, visit us online or call (406) 751-1820.


Todays Member Program

Today’s Member Program

One FEC member and their guest will win an all-expense paid trip to the Today’s Member Program, hosted by the Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association Oct. 8 – 9 in Great Falls. The program will feature presentations about the history and future of electric cooperatives, along with some fun and fellowship with other co-op members from around Montana. Call 406-751-1834 by August 30 to enter the drawing.


Student Teacher Scholarships

Flathead Electric is accepting applications for its $500 fall student teaching scholarship for students completing their education degree while student teaching. Student Teacher Scholarship applications are accepted from August 1 to September 30th.



Electric Vehicle Day at FEC

In recognition of National Drive Electric Week, stop by Flathead Electric Co-op between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on September 19 to learn more about electric vehicles and grab a burger off the grill. Several EVs will be on display and staff will be on-hand to answer questions. Feel free to bring your EV by as well. We will also be offering test drives in FEC’s Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf. See you there!


Co-op Connection

Get to know the people working for you


Sharilyn Fairweather – Multimedia Design Specialist

Q. What do you bring to your Co-op?

A. I bring an ability to break down complex ideas into eye-catching visual communications so that our members can better understand the issues that affect them.

Q. What’s the best thing about working here?

A. There’s always a new opportunity to learn and create. Additionally, I think I may be the only person in the office who uses the word “dope” to say that something is good, and I highly enjoy how that makes Ross Holter chuckle.

Q. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

A. Tough question, however I think I’d choose to have excessive good luck as my superpower. Knowing that everything would work out in my favor would open up a world of possibilities in everyday life, and also make parkour an attainable life goal!


Roundup Report

Grant to help fund heat detection equipment

Thermal Imaging Camera

A $10,000 Roundup for Safety grant will provide West Valley Volunteer Fire and Rescue with Thermal Imaging Cameras that are used to locate fire or heat sources. Firefighters say that is critical to public safety because they can extinguish a fire before it spreads and becomes life threatening. The device can also help locate victims in smoky rooms or those who’ve been thrown from a vehicle on a dark night.

July Projects Funded

  • Kalispell Parks & Recreation
    Woodland Park playground fall surface $2,125
  • Kalispell Pee Wee Baseball
    One AED $1,000
  • North Valley Rescue Association
    Swiftwater rescue kits $6,000
  • Bigfork VFW
    AED & hemorrhage control station $1,150

Roundup for Safety is a voluntary program for FEC members who round up their electric bills to the next dollar. This money goes into a fund for community safety projects.

To apply for a Roundup for Safety grant, visit Roundup for Safety. Thank you to the thousands of Flathead Electric members who round up their bill for safety! Together, we are making a difference in our community.