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Source acknowledgement
http://www.texas-ec.org/texascooppower/issues_archive/2009/February/system/feature1.aspx


Sarah Dross shows off the blue ribbon she received at SpiritHorse. The CoServ charitable foundation contributes to SpiritHorse
Published February 2009
 

People helping people--that's been the cooperative way from the start.

Ray Beavers
Board Chairman of Texas Electric Cooperatives
CEO/General Manager of United Cooperative Services

As soon as their car pulls up at SpiritHorse Therapeutic Center in Corinth, Sarah Dross throws open the door and runs all the way to the stable. "She doesn't even wait for me," says her mother, Maite Brown. For most 6-year-olds, such exuberance spills out daily. In Sarah's case, it's a miracle.

Diagnosed with mild to moderate autism, Sarah spoke little as a toddler and showed next to no emotion. Then three years ago, Brown enrolled her in classes at SpiritHorse, which provides free therapeutic horseback riding services to more than 450 children and adults in North Texas.

"When Sarah said, 'Walk on' for the first time to her horse, that made us all so happy!" Brown recalls. "Because of SpiritHorse, my daughter has grown more confident in her abilities to accomplish tasks, and her vocabulary has grown, too."

She adds, "The horses are so transforming for all the children. I'm so glad they're there!"

Private contributions and public grants--such as three totaling $25,925 given by the CoServ Charitable Foundation--enable kids like Sarah to learn, have fun and experience miracles at SpiritHorse. CoServ, a Corinth-based cooperative, "is an exemplary organization," says SpiritHorse program founder Charles Fletcher. "They set an example to all corporations in giving back to the communities they serve."

"People helping people--that's been the cooperative way from the start," says Ray Beavers, board chairman of Texas Electric Cooperatives and CEO/general manager of United Cooperative Services in Cleburne. Thanks to the first electric co-ops, power lines finally reached rural areas in the 1930s, dramatically improving lives. Today, 64 Texas electric co-ops--ranging in size from 3,400 meters to more than 218,000 meters--do much more than provide at-cost electricity to members. "As integral members of their communities, co-ops and their employees reach out to others and make a difference in countless ways," Beavers says.

There's no way to cover all the ways electric cooperatives are involved in their local communities. But the following stories show how co-ops touch the lives of the people they serve.