From press reports
Choctaw County Fire Services Coordinator Chris Coleman wasn’t sure how he was going to get the additional protective gear and equipment his firefighters needed when serving citizens under their watch. Thanks to the 4-County Foundation, Coleman and his men will be a lot safer putting their lives on the line to protect the citizens of Choctaw County.
Choctaw County Fire Services, nine organizations providing first responder and fire protection services, was awarded a $5,000 donation Monday from the 4-County Foundation. This is the 4-County Foundation’s first donation since its development in February. “We’re very thankful,” Coleman said. “There are nine departments in the county, made up of over 100 volunteers. We’ll be able to upgrade our equipment with this donation.” Ultimately, Coleman said, the additional money will help Choctaw County. “This will help provide the citizens of Choctaw County with the most up-to-date fire protection they can have.”
4-County believes in helping the communities it serves. That’s why the cooperative launched the 4-County Foundation, a community service program. Beginning in February, 4-County members’ utility bills were “rounded up” to the nearest dollar – a $68.65 bill, for example, becomes $69. Now, at the most, that’s around only an extra $12 per year per member (an average of about $6 per year per member). However, when you multiply those contributions by the thousands of member participants, that’s a lot of pennies.
Just a few cents a month, for each member that participates, over the course of a year could make a huge difference for organizations like the Choctaw County Fire Services throughout communities in the 4-County service area. Other needs could include contributions to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, food service organizations, individuals who have experienced considerable loss, and other programs that assist the less fortunate or those with needs in our areas.
Who will decide on the dispersing of funds? 4-County Foundation board members, individuals selected from throughout the cooperative’s service area, will decide and handle fund requests. “This program is all about helping communities and people,” said 4-County Foundation President Kathy Howell of Columbus. “It’s a convenient, inexpensive way for 4-County, its members and other participants to help. Those pennies quickly add up to dollars that make a big difference to these organizations and individuals.” Deanie Graves of Ackerman, 4-County Foundation secretary treasurer, said the board was pleased with its initial dispersement of funds. “We’re excited about providing this emergency responder group with a chance to better protect themselves and the citizens they serve,” Graves said.
Applications to receive Foundation assistance for individuals and organizations will be available in 4-County offices and on the 4-County website, www.4county.org. You can also call 1-800-431-1544 for more information.
Programs like this have been in existence at rural electric cooperatives throughout the nation since 1989. Since their induction, these programs have raised more than $41 million for charitable causes.
Why is 4-County participating? 4-County has a long history of supporting charitable and community organizations. The cooperative is introducing the 4-County Foundation as part of its heritage and values – neighbors helping neighbors. And, it’s just the right thing to do. More than 75 years ago, local residents came together to form 4-County to get electricity to their homes and farms. It was something they couldn’t do individually. Now, through the 4-County Foundation, local residents can come together to create change in their communities – something they couldn’t do individually on this scale. 4-County members are not required to participate in the program. Those who elect to opt out simply have to notify the cooperative by calling 1-800-431-1544.
Board members include Howell (representing District 1, Lowndes County), Graves (representing District 5, Choctaw County), Vice Chairman Columbus Jones of Columbus (representing District 7, At-Large), Russell Dodds of Starkville (representing District 2, Oktibbeha County), Gwendolyn Cotton of Macon (representing District 4, Noxubee County) and Jimmie Whitt of Mathiston (representing District 6, Chickasaw and Webster Counties).