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The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) recognized Jared Nygaard, an energy services technician at Capital Electric Cooperative, with the Community Service Award at its 80th annual meeting Feb. 7.

The award recognizes Nygaard’s efforts to bring alternative-fuel vehicle (AFV) training to North Dakota’s rural firefighters. In recent years, AFVs have become more prevalent in the state, making it important for emergency responders to learn how to safely respond to accidents involving AFVs. A former rural firefighter himself, Nygaard was committed to bringing this important training to North Dakota and sought the support of electric cooperatives. Ultimately, 17 electric cooperatives from North Dakota and Montana agreed to sponsor the course, which came with a $13,500 price tag.

“Demonstrating the cooperative principles of ‘concern for community’ and ‘cooperation among cooperatives,’ Jared has brought cooperatives together for a common goal – to deliver a vital program focused on the safety of emergency personnel and co-op members. This single initiative will have a lasting impact for rural firefighters and the communities they serve for many years to come,” says NDAREC Executive Vice President and General Manager Josh Kramer.

Nearly 120 rural firefighters attended the training, which was offered at the North Dakota Fire School in February 2022. Without Nygaard’s leadership, it is unlikely the training would have been offered. Positive feedback from first responders who attended the training has led to the course being offered for the second time, later this month, at the fire school.

North Dakota’s electric cooperatives congratulate Nygaard on receiving this recognition and thank him for his service to his cooperative and community.

Every year, NDAREC recognizes individuals for their generous contributions to North Dakota’s electric cooperatives and the communities they serve. An eight-member committee of the NDAREC Board of Directors selects award recipients from nominations submitted by NDAREC’s members, which include 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives.

NDAREC is the statewide trade association for 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives operating in North Dakota. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to nearly 250,000 North Dakotans. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, lineworker safety training, professional development, cooperative business development and communication services, including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.