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United Way names two AECI employees ‘campaign managers of the year’

Michele Bassett and Lynette Myers hold oversized check to the United Way.
Michele Bassett, left, and Lynette Myers, United Way co-leaders, present Associated's full check for fundraising efforts in 2019. The $107,995.36 donation puts Associated in the top-five campaign category in the 14-county region.

United Way of the Ozarks recently named Michele Bassett and Lynette Myers, who lead the fundraising efforts at Associated Electric Cooperative Inc., among its select “campaign managers of the year,” which are part of the nonprofit agency’s Pillar Awards.

AECI has long been a United Way pacesetter company, and Bassett and Myers have led the annual giving campaign at Associated the past four years at its Springfield headquarters. Last year, their efforts contributed to a record donation of $107,995 to United Way of the Ozarks, making Associated among the top five givers to the agency that serves a 14-county region.

“Of the hundreds of individuals eligible to receive this award, only 12 employee campaign managers are selected from nominations from board and campaign cabinet members, as well as staff,” said Greg Burris, president and CEO of United Way of the Ozarks in his congratulatory remarks. “These individuals stand out for a variety of reasons. … They have willingly managed their company’s campaign by planning meetings, holding events and completing all the paperwork! They have worked tirelessly to inspire their co-workers to join the effort, by sharing their resources and passion to help others.”

United Way planned to present its “Pillar Awards” at its April 8 annual meeting, which was canceled due to COVID-19 precautions.

Michele, senior treasury associate, and Lynette, senior legal assistant, have served in leadership positions more than five years on the cooperative’s committee, co-chairing it together since 2016.

Associated’s donation is comprised of employee payroll deductions, the largest portion; a corporate donation; and funds from special events, which include an annual auction, blue jeans days and other activities.

Associated’s success is due to leadership and employee participation, the co-chairpersons said. “It’s definitely a top-down initiative and continues to be so,” Myers said. It’s also part of Associated’s culture, from serving members to serving the community.

“I do it because I just like to help,” said Bassett. “I’ve been blessed and want to give back to others who may not be as blessed.”

“I do it because I just feel like, but for the grace of God, it could be me who needed these services,” said Myers. “I know people who have needed these services, and you cannot put a value, monetarily or ethically … on what these (United Way) services mean to people. It allows them to keep their dignity.”

Watch United Way’s annual meeting video that includes recognition of award recipients:    

Associated Electric Cooperative Inc. is owned by and provides wholesale power to six regional and 51 local electric cooperative systems in Missouri, southeast Iowa and northeast Oklahoma that serve more than 910,000 customers. AECI’s mission is to provide an economical and reliable power supply and support services to its members, including the “Take Control & Save” energy efficiency program, AECI is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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