One of the most challenging things about planning an Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association annual meeting is not what content to include in our brief time together. It’s deciding what I have to leave out because of time constraints. The issues have proliferated since I got in this business nearly 25 years ago. We could meet all week and just scratch the surface of cybersecurity and a variety of other topics.
This year’s meeting is Tuesday, November 5, and Wednesday, November 6. During our two days together, we will cover a range of topics: from cap and trade to power supply to utility preparedness for wildfires. We will honor outstanding achievement in our industry and get an update on our efforts to electrify villages in Guatemala. We’re sending an engineering team to Central America this month in advance of construction in April.
We are also going to hear about the D-Day invasion. If that topic seems out of place, remember it is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. That is why I asked author Alex Kershaw to discuss his book, “The First Wave,” a definitive account of the American and Allied soldiers who fought to liberate Europe from Nazi occupation.
If things work out, we may get a chance to honor Oregon veterans who stormed the beaches at Normandy. Twenty years ago, I had the opportunity to tour Normandy during a trip to Europe. It was a powerful experience.
The right for 200 Oregon co-op leaders to congregate freely this month in Salem for classes, presentations and fellowship may not have been possible without these heroic efforts. But the sad reality is we are losing World War II veterans at a rapid rate.
A discussion about cybersecurity may just have to wait until next year.