David Dziengel, REA’s Operation Round Up® Community Trust chairman (center right) congratulates Cliff Korkowski, Douglas County Car Care executive director (Center left) on receiving the 2018 Local Touchstone Energy Community Award. Others pictured include (from left to right) Kristin Dolan, Runestone Electric Association CEO, Barry Wahlberg, Community Trust board member, Kris Chisholm, Douglas County Car Care executive director (new); Rod Borden, Community Trust board member; Vern Lorsung, Community Trust board member; Deborah Anderson, Community Trust board member; Ron Tschaekofske, Community Trust board member; Janet Johnson, Community Trust board member; Mike Loken and Barbara Johnson, REA board members.

Alexandria, MN. November 21, 2018 — It was an excellent first day on a new job for Kris Chisholm. On November 19, the new Executive Director (Kris Chisholm) of Douglas County Car Care, and the retiring Executive Director (Cliff Korkowski) accepted a special award from Runestone Electric Association.  REA’s Operation Round Up® Trust Board named Douglas County Car Care of Alexandria, as the winner of the local 2018 Touchstone Energy Community Award.

“Douglas County Car Care clearly demonstrates a strong commitment to community that we at Runestone Electric value highly,” REA Community Trust Board President Dave Dziengel said. “We are very pleased to recognize Douglas County Car Care contributions to our local communities.”

The Douglas County Car Care Program receives donated cars, repairs them and gives them to needy individuals or families. “Lack of reliable transportation is the biggest barrier to employment for people in poverty. It is also a critical issue for seniors who want to continue to live in their own home,” Korkowski said. “For many, getting a car means getting a job. Getting a car fixed means keeping a job or being able to continue living at home.”

According to Korkowski, donated cars are brought to or delivered to Koep’s Korner in Alexandria. There they are evaluated to determine if they are feasible to be repaired, and then donated to qualifying applicants. “If a family owns a vehicle, but can’t afford the needed repairs, repairs are made using primarily volunteers. Repairs are completed by a Car Care Saturday repair shop (rotates between one of three community auto dealerships that donate space and labor for car repairs once a month), or a repair shop that is set up with reduced rates for Douglas County Car Care Program repairs,” explained Korkowski.

“This area is blessed with many organizations that are doing wonderful things to better our communities,” Kristin Dolan said. “We are pleased that as a Minnesota Touchstone Energy cooperative, we have this opportunity to recognize those who positively impact our communities.”

Douglas County Car Care received $500 and their application will be submitted for consideration of the statewide Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award. The statewide award recipient will be selected from local award winners from around Minnesota. The winning organization will receive $1,000 to go toward their community cause. The Minnesota Touchstone Energy Community Award will be presented to the award recipient in February, during the Minnesota Rural Electric Association’s annual meeting in St. Paul.