ORLANDO, Fla.—Chuck Dawsey, the winner of NRECA's 2018 International Award, said his passion for bringing electricity to other countries is "driven by my love for the people that I have had the opportunity to work with and that have become lifelong friends throughout the world."
"We are joined together with a common goal to help others, to improve lives, to strengthen communities and to find a better way through electrification," Dawsey said Monday as he received the honor at the 2019 NRECA International Luncheon sponsored by CoBank at NRECA's Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Dawsey accepted the award "on behalf of all individuals who lent their hands in our effort to succeed."
The retired CEO of
Benton Rural Electric Association in Prosser, Washington, has worked as a consultant on a series of assignments with
NRECA International on projects in Uganda, Ghana, and the Philippines. He is a former NRECA board member and former chairman of the NRECA International Committee.
In the wake of devastating typhoons in the Philippines, Dawsey helped develop legislation to establish a national disaster relief fund that made it possible for affected co-ops to receive assistance from the Philippine government to help defray the cost of restoring power. He also spearheaded an effort to establish a national safety training program for lineworkers there.
"His efforts to support our international work have been tireless," said outgoing NRECA President Phil Carson.
In Uganda, Dawsey helped lead a two-day workshop last December on cooperative governance for co-op board directors and general managers.
"This training provided the knowledge required to operate a successful electric cooperative," said Wilson Nyabutundu, senior rural electric cooperatives development officer for Uganda's
Rural Electrification Agency and the luncheon's keynote speaker. "But it also gave hope and insight to the workshop participants as they saw and heard evidence that the co-op model in the energy sector works and is thriving."
In a separate ceremony at the luncheon, Dan Waddle, senior vice president for NRECA International, presented an outstanding achievement award to
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative "for demonstrating leadership and friendship as a model of cooperative support" to two co-ops in the Philippines: ILOCOS Sur and ILOCOS Norte.
"Over the years, KIUC has worked with NRECA International to strengthen these two Filipino co-ops with funds and equipment," Waddle said. "They were also the driving force behind the NRECA International fundraising campaign in 2013 that raised $120,000 to help electric co-ops in the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan."
To help NRECA International continue its work,
CoBank President and CEO Tom Halverson presented leaders with a check for $250,000.
"To say that the work of NRECA International is life-changing is not an exaggeration," Halverson said. "It allows individuals, families and entire communities to grow and thrive."
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