July 4 is a classic American holiday. It is the day that the United States declared its independence from Britain and the day on which we celebrate our nationís founding. The Declaration of Independence set the U.S. apart and has influenced the conscience of the nation ever since. And, what is a nation but people coalescing around a set of ideals or beliefs? The ideal or belief in independence not only informed the founding of our nation, but is demonstrated in our midst in many ways and over a great expanse of time.
In the midst of parades, picnics and fireworks, I canít help but think about the independent streak that inspired the farmers, loggers, ranchers and others throughout Americaís countryside to band together, form an electric cooperative and improve their quality of life.
Aside from President Franklin Rooseveltís promise of federal aid in the form of low-interest loans and engineering expertise, rural Americans didnít get much help in bringing electricity to their homes. They pulled themselves up by their figurative bootstraps and did it themselves.
This kind of independence not only tends to inspire cooperatives; itís a guiding principle. The Fourth Cooperative Principle, ďAutonomy and Independence,Ē means that Alger Delta Ė through its board of elected directors Ė can make its own decisions and will always remain responsive to the members of the cooperative.
Alger Delta is part of a vast network of electric cooperatives that span the country from coast to coast. Co-op power lines are strung in 47 states. Together, we serve about 42 million people. Without Alger Delta and co-ops like us, much of America might still remain dark. Can you imagine 42 million people without electricity?
This Fourth of July, join me in honoring those who fought, both physically and intellectually, to win independence and create a new nation. And, letís honor the founders of Alger Delta Cooperative, who beat incredible odds to make life better for themselves, their neighbors, and you.