(Editorial by CEO Jeff Clark)

Every October, cooperatives from all sectors across the country celebrate National Cooperative Month. The purpose of this annual celebration is to recognize the cooperative difference and remind you, the members of the co-op, about JOEMC’s purpose.

I must admit that I am sometimes cynical of the many different “days” and “months” that are celebrated, but National Cooperative Month is truly an opportunity to celebrate. Celebrating National Cooperative Month informs others about our unique business model, which is based on the Seven Cooperative Principles: Voluntary and Open Membership; Democratic Member Control; Members’ Economic Participation; Autonomy and Independence; Education, Training and Information; Cooperation Among Cooperatives; and Concern for Community.

For co-op employees and members that are familiar with the principles, the month of October is a great opportunity to renew our connection to each other and the mission of JOEMC…to provide safe,

reliable, and affordable electric service with uncompromised excellence in customer service while committing to improve the quality of life for our members through community and civic involvement.

In the United States there are more than 29,000 co-ops and many of them join together during the month of October to educate members in the community about cooperatives. There are more co-ops in our local community than most people realize. In addition to Ace Hardware, True Value, and the credit unions and agricultural co-ops you know about, the co-op business model is also represented on the shelves at our local grocery stores with companies like Land O’Lakes, Welch’s, Organic Valley, Sunkist, Ocean Spray and many more.

According to the latest data, more than 130 million people belong to a co-op in the United States alone and co-ops employ more than 2 million Americans.

This speaks to the heart of why we must take every opportunity to celebrate and teach others about the cooperative form of business. So, plan your own co-op celebration by purchasing co-op products, look to do business with co-ops right here in our local community and be a proud, active member of Jones-Onslow EMC.