Local telephone co-op honored

The Foundation for Rural Service honored a National Telecommunications Cooperative Association member, the Monterey-based Highland Telephone Cooperative, as the recipient of the annual FRS Community Development Award during NTCA’s 2010 Fall Conference. General manager Phil Munchel accepted the award on behalf of Highland Telephone Cooperative and its board of directors.

The award was bestowed to recognize Highland Telephone Cooperative’s efforts to coordinate a large number of community partners to obtain funding for the Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center. Highland Telephone Cooperative applied for and won $480,000 of a USDA-REDL loan funding for this project and persuaded other investors to pitch in and help achieve the funding needed for this $1.4 million project. Highland Telephone Cooperative will reset poles at the site, at no expense, to allow for the creation of a commercial drive.

The center will be a USDA-inspected meat processing plant as well as an educational and marketing facility. In addition to bringing in new jobs to the area, the center will help retain 40 existing farm jobs in nearby areas, increase sales to local businesses that support farm operations and increase revenues for a large number of farms. This is a four county and two state project (Highland/Bath in Virginia and Pendleton/Pocahontas in West Virginia).

The FRS award recognizes outreach to rural communities and honors companies for their commitment to improving the lives of the customers they serve. Awardees are recognized for their efforts in the areas of rural economic development, education, volunteerism and philanthropy. The award is given on an annual basis to a NTCA Member or Associate Member Company and/or individual employee(s) of their companies who have made a significant impact in their community.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.

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