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Awards recognize outstanding commitment to electric cooperative-served communities

(MAPLE GROVE, MINN) – Tusen Tack, Braham, and Hope House, Bemidji, were each named winners of a 2021 Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy® Community Award. Due to the circumstances and impact of COVID-19, Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives recognized two organizations that are doing outstanding work in their communities.

“This annual award was established to help recognize organizations with a strong commitment to the local community, similar values to those of Minnesota’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives,” says Joe Miller, a Minnesota Touchstone Energy representative. “There were many excellent applications, and due to COVID-19, our judges wanted to recognize more than one organization.”

Both organizations received an award and $1,000 for their its efforts. Tusen Tack (served by East Central Energy) has five core programs, which include a thrift store, community center, library, food shelf and commercial kitchen. These programs, run by approximately 200 volunteers, reach countless people in the area, providing food, necessary thrift bargains, reading material and computer access, meeting space and meals.

Hope House (served by Beltrami Electric Cooperative) provides comprehensive support for people with long-term mental illnesses and their families.  Through one-to-one assistance, hospitalizations are reduced, stable housing is maintained and recipients regain meaningful daily lives. Skills training, a drop-in center, nurse visits, family group, outreach, diagnostic assessments, and links to employment and medication are offered.

Every fall, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives throughout the state present local awards to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to their communities. Beltrami Electric based in Bemidji, Minn., and East Central Energy based in Braham, Minn., selected Hope House and Tusen Tack as their local winners, respectively. Local recipients are automatically entered into the statewide competition administered by the Minnesota Rural Electric Association.




The Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) is a nonprofit trade association serving Minnesota’s electric cooperatives. MREA provides legislative and regulatory representation, director and employee education programs, technical training for electric cooperative line workers, and serves as the focal point for cooperation among cooperatives. Minnesota’s 44 distribution cooperatives serve about 1.7 million Minnesotans in all 87 counties and operate the largest distribution network in the state with more than 135,000 miles of electric lines.


Touchstone Energy is a nationwide alliance of more than 700 local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in 46 states dedicated to the values of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community. Collectively, these co-ops deliver power and energy solutions to more than 30 million members every day. Thirty-eight of 44 distribution cooperatives in Minnesota are part of the national brand, Touchstone Energy.