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Dakota Electric Association and its employees have raised $29,087 for charities — the most ever — through its employee-led program called Dakota Cares.

The committee holding a large check for $29,000.

Dakota Cares committee members (L-R): Bernie Kolnberger, Dave Reinke, Cherry Jordan, Jackie Bauer, Julie Simonsen, Corey Willert, Susan Strong and Tom Riste. Not pictured: Mel Belschner.

Each year Dakota Electric’s employees hold a variety of fundraising events and a pledge drive to bring in donations for three charities: United Way, $7,726; Community Health Charities, $12,894; and the Fallen Lineman Organization, $8,467.

“We could not have done this without the hard work of the committee and the generous and caring people of Dakota Electric,” Julie Simonsen, committee chair, said.

Board members, employees and others have participated in fundraising events such as a sporting clay shoot, silent auctions, special meals and more. Employees have the option of donating through payroll deduction or a onetime donation as well.

Julie Simonsen holding a tray of hot dogs.

Dakota Cares Committee Chair Julie Simonsen serves up hot dogs for one of the company’s fundraiser events held during the year.

“The employees stepped up to the challenge” President and CEO Greg Miller said. “It’s nice we can raise a significant amount of money to support these great causes. My thanks to the committee for all their hard work.”