River Valley Project Explore and Cheerful Givers named runners-up

FARMINGTON, Minn. (Jan. 08, 2008) — Dakota Electric Association named the Apple Valley Senior Center as winner of the local 2007 Touchstone Energy Community Award. River Valley Project Explore, Apple Valley, and Cheerful Givers, Eagan, were named runners-up and each of the three applicants received a plaque and a check for $500.

“As a member-owned cooperative, Dakota Electric values the local community,” said Greg Miller, Dakota Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “The Touchstone Energy Community Award provides a way for us to honor just a few of the many people and organizations that do so much for our local communities.”

The Apple Valley Senior Center has made an impact locally and around the world. Some of their projects included quilting bereavement bags, scrub caps and baby quilts for Children’s Hospital, and quilts for the Ronald McDonald House, Veterans’ Home and nursing homes. They have knit and crocheted slippers, caps, mittens and more for area schools and sewn diapers for Honduras families. The seniors have held a supply drive for Westview Elementary, promoted recycling and donating box tops, milk caps and soup labels to Cedar Park Elementary School, along with savings bond donations for high school all night graduation parties.

River Valley Project Explore is a program to serve adults with physical and developmental cognitive disabilities by encouraging inclusion in community activities and providing customized learning, social and recreational opportunities.

Cheerful Givers enlists thousands of volunteers who help fill gift bags with toys and books for children’s birthdays. Less fortunate parents can pick up a bag for their child’s birthday at a local food shelf and provide a gift on the child’s special day.

The Touchstone Energy Community Award recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community.

“This area is fortunate to have many individuals, groups and corporate citizens who are willing to donate time and effort to make our communities better,” Miller said. “It was hard to select just a few winners for this award.”

The Apple Valley Senior Center award application will be submitted for consideration in the statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. The statewide award recipient will be selected from local award winners throughout Minnesota. The winner will receive $1,000 to go toward their non-profit community project. The Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award will be announced in February, during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s annual meeting in St. Paul.

A customer-owned, non-profit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 99,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric, a Touchstone Energy Partner, serves its member/owners with integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community.