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Remembering Service And Sacrifice

New Veterans Memorial Park in Grand Forks pays tribute to Armed Forces. 

When Al Palmer looks over the new Veterans Memorial Park in Grand Forks, each display has a story to tell, a person to remember and a sacrifice that should never be forgotten.

A retired Air Force General, Palmer takes the opportunity not only to reflect on his 38-year military career, but also on the service provided by his father, father-in-law, uncle and other family members whose names appear on individual blocks in the park.

“It provides an opportunity to go and spend time with your loved ones,” Palmer said. “It’s nice to know you can go there, look at their names, and remember them for their service and sacrifice.”

More than 1,000 people gathered and hundreds more watched online as the park was dedicated and officially opened on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Palmer chaired a committee that drove the 6.2-acre space from dream into a reality.

Project ideas had been in the works for more than a decade, but gained traction in 2017 when the committee, in true military fashion, set a regimented schedule for meetings and developed a board of director structure. With a strong team assembled, they agreed there would be no salaries or per diems – every dollar would go to the park, which is located at the intersection of 24th Avenue South
and 34th Street.

Over 1,200 businesses and organizations were contacted to support the $2.5 million project. The first major breakthrough came from the Engelstad Foundation, which provided $250,000. Donations flooded in from there, ranging from a few dollars to tens of thousands.

Nodak Electric Cooperative supported the project through a $1,000 donation, while its wholesale power provider, Minnkota Power Cooperative, contributed $2,000.

“As cooperatives, we’re committed to the communities we serve,” said Mylo Einarson, Nodak Electric president and CEO. “It is important for our local communities to have a place where we can properly recognize our military service members and veterans for their commitment and sacrifice. Veterans Memorial Park is an important reminder of everything they’ve done for our country.”

The centerpiece of the park is a 40-foot-long, 6-foot-high Memorial Wall made of granite. The wall is laser-etched with 156 images explaining the role of American veterans from the first wars to the present day. A nearby touchscreen kiosk is available to provide more information on each image and its significance.

Granite benches and large pillars recognizing each military branch surround the Memorial Wall. At night, the display is illuminated and the images on the wall shine brightly through the darkness. Other attractions include a Northrop Grumman Global Hawk and a General Atomics Reaper, while a B-52 model should be installed in late fall or early spring.

Palmer is quick to deflect credit for the completion of the project and recognizes numerous individuals for their unique roles. Those same individuals decided to name the park’s Visitor Center after Palmer. “I broke down and cried,” Palmer said. “My grandkids can come here and see that and remember their grandfather. It’s very, very personal.”

Following the dedication, the Veterans Memorial Park committee will disband and officially turn operations over to the Grand Forks Park District. Palmer said the project leaders will still be active in advocating for the park and raising funds for future additions. His biggest goal is to get an F-16 to display on site.

“I don’t know of anyone in the Upper Midwest who has something like this,” Palmer said. “It’s a destination center for Grand Forks. And there is still room for us to grow.”

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Reflecting On Cooperative Principles

ACE Hardware, State Farm, American Crystal Sugar, Land O’Lakes, and Nodak Electric all share something in common – we’re all cooperatives.

We may be in different industries, but we all share a passion for serving our members and helping our communities to thrive. In fact, all cooperatives adhere to the same set of seven principles that reflect our core values of honesty, transparency, equity, inclusiveness, and service to the greater community good. October is National Co-op Month, so this is the perfect time to reflect on these principles that have stood the test of time, but also provide a framework for the future. Let’s take a look at the cooperative principles.

Voluntary and Open Membership

Just like all co-ops, Nodak was created out of necessity – to meet a need that would have been otherwise unmet in our community. So, in 1940 a group of neighbors banded together and organized our electric co-op so everyone in our community could benefit. For a modest membership fee to the co-op, any farmer could get electricity brought to his farm. Neighbors came together to tackle a problem that they all had but couldn’t solve alone. They worked together for the benefit of the whole community, and the newly established electric lines helped power economic opportunity in our community.

Democratic Member Control

Our co-op is well suited to meet the needs of our members because we are locally governed. Each member gets a voice and a vote in how the co-op is run, and each voice and vote are equal. Nodak’s leadership team and employees are from right here. Our board of directors, which helps set long-term priorities for the co-op, also lives locally on co-op lines. These board members have been elected by neighbors just like you. We know our members have a valuable perspective, and that’s why we are continually seeking your input and encourage you to weigh in on important co-op issues and participate in co-op elections.

Members’ Economic Participation

As a utility, our mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to our members. But as a co-op, we are also motivated by service to the community, rather than profits. Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of Nodak Electric. At least part of that capital remains the common property of the cooperative. Because we are guided by seven cooperative principles, it’s not just about dollars – it’s about opportunity for all and being fair when engaging with our members. The cooperative way is a values-based business model.

Autonomy and Independence

The fourth principle, Autonomy and Independence, means that the co-op operates in an autonomous way that is solely directed and guided by its members, reflecting the values and needs of our local community. This means the co-op is not being influenced by leaders or shareholders several states away. Instead, the co-op is led by the local members it serves.

Education and Training

The fifth principle, Education and Training, focuses on enhancing the knowledge of co-op employees and board members, which enables them to contribute to the development of the co-op.

By investing in continuous learning for our employees and board members, our co-op is making a commitment not just to individual professional and personal growth, but to the future of the co-op and the high quality of service our members expect and deserve. It’s a win-win situation.

We also strive to inform our members (that’s you!) and the public about the mission and operations of the co-op. In fact, that’s why you receive this magazine, so we can share the latest co-op news and updates, as well as energy efficiency and safety tips.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperation Among Cooperatives is the sixth principle and fosters the way that co-ops work together to address bigger challenges. While this principle applies to all types of cooperatives, it is especially relevant in the energy industry. In our case, we put this principle in action after major storms and disasters that cause widespread power outages. When this happens, we call on nearby co-ops to come to our aid and assist with restoration efforts, and we of course extend the same help to them when they need us. I can’t think of a better example of cooperation among cooperatives.

Concern for Community

The seventh principle, Concern for Community, is essential to who we are as cooperatives. We serve our community not only by being an essential service, but by helping to power our local economy. Whether through economic development, volunteerism or donations to local causes, we invest in our community because it’s our home too.I think you’ll find that most cooperatives bring good people together to make good things happen in the community. We hope you feel that way about us – your local electric co-op.

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Be Cyber Smart: October Is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

At a time when we are more connected than ever, being “cyber smart” is of the utmost importance. This year has already seen more than a fair share of cyberattacks and breaches, including the high-profile attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and other critical infrastructure. Furthermore, as has been underlined by these recent breaches, cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated with more evolved bad actors cropping up each day. Luckily, there are several steps that we can take on a daily basis to mitigate risks and stay one step ahead of wrongdoers.

Here are a few quick tips:

Enable multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds that necessary second check to verify your identity when logging in to one of your accounts. By requiring multiple methods of authentication, your account is further protected from being compromised, even if a bad actor hijacks your password. In this way, MFA makes it more difficult for password cracking tools to enable attackers to break into accounts.

Use strong passphrases/password manage

This may seem obvious, but all too often securing strong passphrases/password managers is overlooked. People spending more time online during the pandemic has certainly contributed to more bad actors prowling for accounts to attack. Using long, complex and unique passwords is a good way to stop your account from being hacked, and an easy way of keeping track and remembering your passwords is by using a password manager.

Perform software updates

When a device prompts that it’s time to update the software, it may be tempting to simply click postpone and ignore the message. However, having the latest security software, web
browser and operating system on devices is one of the best defenses against online threats. So, don’t
wait – update.

Do your research before downloading

Common sense is a crucial part of maintaining good online hygiene, and an intuitive step to stay safe online is to do some research before downloading anything new to your device, such as apps. Before downloading, make sure to check who created the app, what the user reviews say and if there are any articles published online about the app’s privacy and security features.

Check your security settings

Be diligent to double check your privacy and security settings and be aware of who can access your documents. This extends from Google Docs to Zoom calls and beyond. For meetings on Zoom, for example, create passwords so only those invited to the session can attend, and restrict who can share their screen or files with the rest of the attendees.

Make a habit of practicing online safety:

Being cyber smart and maintaining stellar online hygiene is the best way to protect yourself and others from cyberattacks. No single tip is foolproof, but taken together they can make a real difference in safeguarding your online presence. Following these tips is also easy and free. By taking preventive measures and making a habit of practicing online safety, you can decrease your odds of being hacked exponentially – and prevent lost time and money, as well as annoyance. 

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Nodak Electric Cooperative

Nodak Electric Cooperative is dedicated to being an efficient provider of quality electric service with leadership that demonstrates the highest regard for its members/owners.


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Sept/Oct 2021

The Official Publication of Nodak Electric Cooperative

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