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OPALCO celebrates 75 years with a whole year of events

OPALCO is gearing up to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2012, and has planned a fun-filled year of events, activities and recognition.  - Contributed photo
OPALCO is gearing up to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2012, and has planned a fun-filled year of events, activities and recognition.
— image credit: Contributed photo

OPALCO is gearing up to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2012, and has planned a fun-filled year of events, activities and recognition.

"The history of bringing power to our rural islands is steeped in the stories of the local people who dedicated their life work to create the electric cooperative, to build the system eventually across twenty islands,” said Suzanne Olson, OPALCO representative. “And to continually maintain and improve the power grid and friendly offices that serve us today.”

To kick off the celebration, members can pick up a commemorative 1937-style calendar featuring the artwork of Orcas Island artist Frank Loudin. Calendars are available at local OPALCO offices, and at Ace Hardware Friday Harbor and Browne’s Home Center on San Juan Island, Sunset Builder Supply on Lopez Island, and  Island Hardware and Supply and Orcas Island Hardware on Orcas Island.

Here’s a look at events for the anniversary year:

• Special annual meeting: Saturday, May 5 on the ferry. Recognition of OPALCO co-op family, including past employees and board members, the 75 longest-standing members and all members in attendance who are 75 or older.

• OPALCO open houses: Members will be invited to open houses on Lopez, San Juan, Shaw and Orcas Islands for refreshments, gifts and recognition of each island’s unique history, co-op family members and longest standing members. Each office will have a unique historical display.

• Historical monument in Eastsound: One of OPALCO’s old diesel generators will be placed on a concrete pad in front of the OPALCO headquarters with interpretive signage. The unveiling of this monument, as well as the completion of a permanent historical timeline exhibit will coincide with the Orcas Open House event.

• Monthly electrifying articles: Telling the co-op story, including key events and profiling key people along the timeline.

• Commemorative items: Beginning with the vintage calendar, there will be a variety of limited edition items created to commemorate the 75th year. Many of the items will be available exclusively at the annual meeting on May 5.

The 75th Anniversary will also be the theme of OPALCO's 2012 County Fair booth. Staff will create a traveling historical exhibit that will be available for display at other island events and venues.

Call Suzanne Olson at 376-3537 if you would like to host the traveling exhibit at your event, place of business or community venue, or if you have stories about OPALCO to share for the Anniversary Publication, memorabilia to loan or donate from OPALCO’s past, or know of people who may be among the 75 longest-standing co-op members.

 

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