Murray Electric System (MES) and TVA were founded on a mission to serve — through reliable and affordable energy, a safe and protected environment and thriving economic development.
Home to Murray State University, Murray sits at the heart of Kentucky Lake, TVA’s largest reservoir and part of its environmental stewardship program. Camping, fishing and eagle-watching are just a few of the outdoor activities residents and tourists enjoy. And local schools have fishing teams that participate in tournaments on the lake.
Community energy benefits students in the classroom as well. Mary Beth Paschall, MES marketing and telephone coordinator says they were proud to partner with TVA and Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (a TVA retiree organization) to present Murray Independent School District (MISD) with a $5,000 2021 STEM grant. The funding was used to purchase Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technology for the classroom to explore cultures and places through virtual field trips they couldn’t experience otherwise, Paschall said.
MISD was one of only two school districts in Western Kentucky to receive a TVA STEM grant, and 2021 marked the second year in a row that they earned this highly competitive award. Schools must receive their power from a TVA distributor such as MES to be eligible to receive a STEM grant. MES is proud that their partnership with TVA helps to make funding opportunities like these possible for the students in their community.
The team at MES also enjoys reaching out to schools in fun, creative ways. “We have a tiny [model] city that our linemen built with power poles, houses and even cars. They teach the kids, mostly fourth graders, how electricity works and guiding principles of electrical safety,” Paschall said.
The value of community energy extends to all customers, especially when times are tough. Paschall said, “We had a major [company], Briggs & Stratton, shut down in the community. That shut-down, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, put a financial strain on a lot of our neighbors.” MES partnered with TVA twice in 2020 to donate a total of $40,000 through the TVA Community Cares Fund to both The United Way and Mayfield-Graves County Needline to help customers struggling to pay utility bills.
In December 2021, the town of Murray began to face another major challenge when a devastating tornado struck the town and much of Western Kentucky. Recovery efforts will take a long time, but with caring actions from near and far and supportive partnerships, MES is not on this journey alone.
TVA and Partners Tornado Response video (3:25) by TVA, featuring featuring MEWS general superintendent Marty Ivy, Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (RECC) president and CEO Dewayne McDonald, Graves County Sheriff Jon Hayden and Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan.
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