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Terebinth Refuge, a St. Cloud-based non-profit organization, is the recipient of the 2020 Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. Founder and executive director CeCe Terlouw received the award from the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. Along with this special honor, Terebinth Refuge also received $1,000 for its efforts.

Minnesota Touchstone Energy Cooperatives adhere to the seven cooperative principles, which includes concern for community. “Minnesota is blessed with many individual, group and corporate citizens willing to donate time and effort to better our communities,” said Joe Miller, a Minnesota Touchstone Energy representative and chair of the Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. “Terebinth Refuge clearly demonstrates the strong commitment to community that Touchstone Energy cooperatives value.”

Terebinth Refuge opened in April 2018 as the first of its kind in Central Minnesota, offering a safe home that brings hope, healing services and freedom to sexually exploited and trafficked women throughout Minnesota who are 18 years and older. “Although there are shelters for sexually exploited and trafficked women throughout the state, most of them work with individuals who are 21 and younger,” Terlouw said. “There were very few shelters offering assistance to adults and older women, and no shelters in St. Cloud, which is why I chose the St. Cloud metro area as the location of Terebinth Refuge.”

Every fall, Touchstone Energy cooperatives throughout the state present local awards to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to their communities. Local recipients were automatically entered into the statewide competition administered by the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. Stearns Electric Association based in Melrose, Minnesota, selected Terebinth Refuge as their local winner.

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 the cooperation among cooperatives. There are 44 distribution cooperatives and 6 generation and transmission members of MREA.
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. Thirty-eight of 44 distribution cooperatives in Minnesota are part of the national brand, Touchstone Energy.