Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives

Iowa’s electric cooperatives shine the light on local volunteers

September 6, 2022

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Earlier this summer, the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Iowa sponsored its second statewide contest to highlight our cooperative commitment to community. During the month of June, the Shine the Light contest invited member-consumers and employees of Iowa’s locally owned electric cooperatives to nominate deserving volunteers in their communities.

 “The Shine the Light contest gave our members and employees a unique opportunity to show their appreciation for family, friends and neighbors who are making a positive difference in the community,” remarked Erin Campbell, director of communications for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.

68 nominations were submitted from across the state, highlighting the work of many incredible Iowans. Three volunteers were selected as winners from the entries received:

  • Nicole Low of Eldora was nominated by Paul Lawler of Union, who is a Midland Power Cooperative member-consumer. Nicole was selected as a 2022 Shine the Light winner for her work with the Eldora Community Garden. A registered nurse with two young daughters, Nicole co-founded the community garden four years ago because she saw a need in the community. Nicole volunteers with every aspect of the garden, which provides a communal gardening space and donates produce locally.
  • Sharon Van Beek of Primghar was nominated by Laura Leonard of Westfield, who is her daughter and a member-consumer of North West Rural Electric Cooperative. Sharon was selected as a 2022 Shine the Light winner for her work with the Buckets of Joy program. Started by Sharon’s in-laws over 40 years ago, Buckets of Joy provides holiday bags of clothes, toys and hygiene products for young children in need. A retired teacher, Sharon works hard to find the best deals for supplies like pajamas, books and toothbrushes as the need grows each year.
  • Deb Johnson of Fairfield was nominated by Kathy Brown of Fairfield, who is a member-consumer of Access Energy Cooperative. Deb was named as a 2022 Shine the Light contest winner for her work volunteering as the family support chair for the Greater Fairfield Area Habitat for Humanity where she uses her social work experience to assist the local partner families as their new homes are built. Known as the “Cookie Lady,” Deb also bakes and delivers delicious treats for the student volunteers.

Each winning volunteer was honored with a $2,000 donation to their local charity. The 2022 Shine the Light winners are also featured in the September issue of Iowa Electric Cooperative Living magazine. All of the contest’s 68 nominators and nominees were highlighted in the August issue of the magazine.

The Shine the Light contest will return next summer to once again honor Iowans who are making a positive difference in the community. We encourage cooperative member-consumers to make plans to nominate local volunteers during the month of June at

For More Information:

For more information, contact:

Erin Campbell
IAEC Director of Communications

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