Page 1

Suwannee Valley

WE BELONG TO THOSE WE SERVE Business Office: 800-447-4509 11340 100th Street • Live Oak, FL 32060

currents October 2018

Lobby Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday Drive-thru Kiosk Open 24 Hours

24/7 Power Outage Reporting



Community values Michael S. McWaters Executive V.P./CEO

As you might imagine, electric cooperatives hold a special place in my heart. I’ve given many years of my professional life to serving them because I believe in their mission and their unique capacity to serve rural communities. Cooperatives stand out from other companies because we aren’t concerned with how to best turn a profit. We were built by our members to serve our members. At the end of the day, we make decisions based on what is best for you, not some distant shareholders. October is National Cooperative Month, which gives us the chance to celebrate the network of cooperatives across the country and the work they do to serve their communities. It’s also an opportunity to recognize how Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative works to improve our members’ lives. You can read more about that in this month’s newsletter. Of course, SVEC isn’t the only organization trying to make the Suwannee Valley a better place to live. This month, we’re also highlighting a local group called Hooked on Heroes, which takes veterans out on the Gulf for a daylong fishing trip, all expenses paid. Much like a cooperative, Hooked on Heroes is an organization of neighbors helping neighbors. They rely entirely on volunteers and donations to give veterans in our own community and beyond a well-deserved getaway. We’re proud to serve members who care so much about helping those around them. Those values are, after all, the heart of the cooperative mission and ones we look forward to living out every day. 

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES Cooperatives operate according to a core set of principles for the purpose of improving quality of life for their members. Our mission is not to provide profits to shareholders. Instead, we are committed







Voluntary and Open Membership

A cooperative is a voluntary organization, open to all people who can reasonably use its services.


Democratic Member Control

A cooperative is a democratic organization guided by leaders who the members elect to represent them when setting policies and making decisions.


Members’ Economic Participation

Members contribute to the capital of their cooperative. This capital is used to operate the cooperative, and it benefits the member in proportion to the amount of business they do with the cooperative.

to bringing you the most reliable and affordable service possible. October is National Cooperative Month, honoring the important role cooperatives play in the fabric of our country. 


Autonomy and Independence

No matter what agreements cooperatives may enter into with other organizations, its members maintain control and the cooperative remains independent.


Education, Training and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the well-being of their cooperative. They also inform the public about the nature and benefits of cooperation.


Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international organizations.


Concern for Community

Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through polices and programs supported by the membership.

HOOKED ON HEROES Local charity gives vets a relaxing day at sea For some veterans, coming home isn’t easy. Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative member Ron Cadle still remembers what it was like when he returned from Vietnam. The welcome was anything but warm, and for a time it hardened him. “It was the way people treated you. They called you names and treated you like you

were nothing,” he says. “Then I got to thinking — there are other veterans who are going through the same thing. What can I do for them?” Cadle had long wanted to show other veterans that people appreciated their service, and an all-expenses-paid fishing trip seemed like the perfect way to say thank you. Even

Hooked on Heroes takes veterans fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Fishing is known to help with conditions like PTSD and help relieve stress.

soldiers who sustained injuries in combat could participate, and everyone would enjoy a day on the water. “I love to fish, and I figured even if they don’t catch anything they would still have a good time,” Cadle says. “Psychiatrists at the VA hospital say fishing helps with conditions like PTSD and can relieve stress.” From the very beginning, community involvement was important to Cadle. So with his new idea in mind, he took to Facebook in early 2015 to ask local friends and family to come up with a name for the project. There was a clear winner: Hooked on Heroes.


Initially, Cadle thought it would take the better part of a year to get Hooked on Heroes up and running as a nonprofit. He began organizing the program in June 2015 with the help of a few volunteers. But as soon as others learned he was organizing free fishing trips, veterans from across the state asked when they could help. As a result, the first Hooked on Heroes trip was that October, before Cadle even finished the paperwork for the nonprofit. In the following months, Hooked on Heroes brought together a board of directors 2  OCTOBER 2018

Suwannee Valley Currents


Hooked on Heroes averages around 50 to 70 boats for each trip with volunteers who live as far as Georgia coming to help.

and registered as a nonprofit organization. A second fishing trip was set for April 2016, establishing the twice-annual schedule that continues today. Because the organization depends entirely on volunteers and donations, the size of each trip varies based on the number of available boats. So, Hooked on Heroes seeks volunteers willing to donate boats or to act as a captain for the day on a fishing trip into the Gulf. “If we only had 10 boats we’d do a trip, but fortunately we’ve been able to average anywhere from about 50 to 70 boats for each one,” says Cadle. “We have some boat owners who live as far away as Georgia.”


As Hooked on Heroes has continued to grow, Cadle’s primary challenge has been making sure donations of time and money keep up with the level of interest. When the project first started, taking 100 people out on the ocean at one time seemed impossible. Now, his goal for the near future is to take 200 veterans on a fishing trip. Those numbers have been a strain for some

donors, such as those who provide free lunches for the veterans. “Local food companies have been so helpful in getting us food, but we have to purchase more of it now because we’re too big for them to donate it all,” Cadle says. “They didn’t mind donating 50 sandwiches at the beginning. But when you need 300, that becomes a big expense.” In addition to organizing the fishing trips, Hooked on Heroes also uses any leftover donations to improve the lives of local veterans. Recently, Cadle found out about a vet who had gone for a month without running water in his home. Hooked on Heroes was able to give him $450 for necessary repairs. It’s those moments and the carefree spirit of veterans returning from a successful fishing trip that make all the work worth it for Cadle. “It’s important to me because I’m a veteran, too, and I just enjoy doing things for people,” he says. “It’s a joy to me and my wife to be able to take some of the load off them when they’re having problems. We want to help a veteran every chance we get.” 

Hooked on Heroes depends entirely on donations to fulfill its mission. SVEC members who would like to contribute can send monetary donations to:

Hooked on Heroes 19783 Lancaster Road Live Oak, FL 32060 If you would like to volunteer, donate your boat for a trip or make any other donation, please call 386-364-9589. If you are a veteran or know a veteran who would like to participate, call 386-288-4445 to register.

If we only had 10 boats we’d do a trip ... We have some boat owners who live as far away as Georgia and pull their boats down to take the veterans out. — Ron Cadle, president of Hooked on Heroes

Suwannee Valley Currents

Hooked on Heroes’ goal is to take 200 veterans on a fishing trip. Donations and help from volunteers are crucial in making that goal a reality.

OCTOBER 2018 3

OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH SVEC crews are wearing pink hats in October to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month and the women and families affected by the disease.

Round Up® program to begin in January Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative will begin Operation Round Up® in January, when the bills of participating members will be rounded up to the nearest dollar. Money raised through the program will fund grants to benefit students in local schools. While an individual member’s donation amounts to pocket change each month, the program allows SVEC to collect an average of $6 for each participating member annually. Together, those donations add up. Once donations have been collected, the teachers from local schools will be able to submit applications for classroom projects or supplies. Members who do not wish to have their bills rounded up must call the cooperative at 800-447-4509 and let us know.

Drive-thru kiosk A new payment kiosk is available in the outer drivethru lane at SVEC’s office. ƒƒ Available 24/7 ƒƒ Payments post immediately ƒƒ Pay with cash, check or card

WIN THIS YETI COOLER AND TUMBLER! Pay using the kiosk before Nov. 1 and be automatically entered into a drawing for one YETI Hopper Flip 8 cooler and one YETI Rambler 30 oz. tumbler.

The kiosk located in the SVEC foyer will be removed from service on Saturday, Oct. 27.


WE SALUTE OUR VETERANS Pictured, from left, are Mike Cameron, U.S. Army; John Robinson, U.S. Navy; Danny Daniels, U.S. Army; and Craig Ragan, U.S. Marine Corps. Not pictured is Anthony Thompkins, who served in the U.S. Army.

Vote on Nov. 6 and help make sure that the voice of rural America is heard loud and clear by our elected leaders and political candidates.

Currents-Oct. 2018  
Currents-Oct. 2018