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BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) recognized LaWanna Wilhelm, chief of staff and key accounts executive at Slope Electric Cooperative, with the Community Service Award at its annual meeting on Jan. 15. Now in her 23rd year with Slope Electric Cooperative, Wilhelm is an experienced cooperative employee and a leader in her community.

“LaWanna has demonstrated her commitment to community across southwest North Dakota.,” says Don Franklund, co-general manager and CEO, Innovative Energy Alliance Cooperative. “She’s engaged, and she has an intense desire to help her neighbors. It’s a privilege to work with her. It’s a privilege to be around people with that kind of leadership.”

Wilhelm’s passion to improve the lives of people in rural communities starts with its youth. At Slope Electric Cooperative, she coordinates opportunities for students, including the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour and the Basin Electric Power Cooperative scholarship program. In communicating with students and their families, she provides what might be their first personal experience with an electric cooperative. They learn about the cooperative business model and develop leadership skills they could one day use to serve their cooperative or community.

Wilhelm’s commitment to community extends beyond the workplace. She volunteers at county fairs, where she judges 4-H projects. As a Sunday School teacher, she shares her Christian values with children. She’s also volunteered for the New England Ambulance District and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, and served on the New England Public School Board.

When asked about his wife’s volunteer efforts and willingness to assist, Terry Wilhelm said, “LaWanna doesn’t look for accolades and a big fanfare. She just tries to help where it’s needed. She deserves a big pat on the back!”

North Dakota’s electric cooperatives congratulate Wilhelm on receiving this recognition and thank her for her years of service to her 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 includes 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 via 196,000 meters. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, line worker safety training and professional development services, cooperative business development, and communication services including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.