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Hope House of Bemidji and Tusen Tack of Braham win Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award


Beltrami Electric Cooperative Marketing and Communications Specialist Angela Lyseng presents the Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award to Hope House of Bemidji. Left to right: Sharon Collins, Stephanie Chupp, Dave Johnson, Robin Wold, Angela Lyseng, Jody Yerbich, Louis Erdrich and Ashley Smith.

BEMIDJI, Minn. (March 4, 2021) -Hope House, Bemidji, and Tusen Tack, Braham, were named winners of the 2021 Minnesota's Touchstone Energy Community Award. Due to the circumstances and impact of COVID-19, this year Minnesota's Touchstone Energy cooperatives decided to recognize two community organizations that are doing outstanding work in their areas. This year's winners were from Beltrami Electric Cooperative and East Central Energy, respectively.

"This annual award was established to help recognize organizations with a strong commitment to the local community, similar values to those of Minnesota's Touchstone Energy cooperatives," Joe Miller, a Minnesota Touchstone Energy representative said. "There were many good applications, and due to COVID-19, our judges wanted to recognize more than one organization."

Both organizations received an award and $1,000 for their its efforts. Hope House provides comprehensive support for people with long-term mental illness and their families. Through one-to-one assistance, hospitalizations are reduced, stable housing is maintained, and recipients regain meaningful daily lives. Skills training, a drop-in center, nurse visits, family group, outreach, diagnostic assessments, and links to employment and medication are offered.

Tusen Tack has five core programs that include a thrift store, a community center, a library, a food shelf, and a commercial kitchen. These programs, run by approximately 200 volunteers, reach countless people in the area, providing food, necessary thrift bargains, reading material and computer access, meeting space and meals.

Last fall, Touchstone Energy cooperatives throughout the state presented local awards to organizations for outstanding contributions to their communities. Local award recipients were automatically entered for the statewide recognition.

"Minnesota is definitely blessed with many individual, group and corporate citizens willing to donate time and effort to better our communities," Angela Lyseng, marketing and communications specialist at Beltrami Electric Cooperative said. "As Touchstone Energy cooperatives, we are pleased to pay special tribute to those who impact our communities in so many positive ways.

Touchstone Energy is a nationwide alliance of 700 local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in 46 states dedicated to the values of integrity, accountability, innovation, and commitment to community. Nearly all of Minnesota's 44 distribution cooperatives in Minnesota are part of the national brand, Touchstone Energy.


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