Bemidji Area Reading Canines (B.A.R.C.) Wins Statewide Touchstone Energy® Community Award

BEMIDJI, Minn.--()--Bemidji Area Reading Canines [B.A.R.C.] was named the 2015 winner of Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Community Award. They received the award on February 18, during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s annual meeting in St. Paul.

“Bemidji Area Reading Canines should be commended for not only winning our cooperative’s local award, but for earning the statewide honor as well”

B.A.R.C. was selected from among all the local award winners throughout the state for the special honor. Volunteers from the organization accompanied by therapy dogs received the honor in front of an audience of electric cooperative directors and CEOs. In addition to an engraved plaque, the organization receives $1000 to further its efforts.

“Bemidji Area Reading Canines clearly demonstrates the strong commitment to community that Touchstone Energy cooperatives value,” Joe Miller, a Minnesota Touchstone Energy representative, said. “Minnesota is blessed with many individual, group and corporate citizens willing to donate time and effort to better our communities,” Miller said.

The B.A.R.C. program was created to help school-aged children feel comfortable reading aloud to a nonjudgmental audience, which in this case are well-trained therapy dogs. The students are encouraged to read to the dogs, while they lie next to them and provide comfort and companionship, in what could be an otherwise nervous atmosphere for some children. There are currently 18 teams, comprised of current and retired teachers, professionals, farmers, and homemakers who volunteer their time to visit local schools, libraries and youth clubs with the goal of promoting reading. The program started in 2007, and has impacted thousands of students around the area since its inception.

“Bemidji Area Reading Canines should be commended for not only winning our cooperative’s local award, but for earning the statewide honor as well,” said Beltrami Electric CEO Lynette Nieuwsma, who presented the award to the group. “Their commitment to community is something we value as a Touchstone Energy® cooperative.”

Beltrami Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative located in Bemidji, MN. Established in 1940 and celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Beltrami Electric provides power to almost 17,000 member-owners within a 3,000 square mile service area located in the lakes region of north-central Minnesota.

Contacts

Beltrami Electric
Angela Lyseng, 218-444-3689
alyseng@beltramielectric.com