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Non-profit, area family receive co-op grant

By Staff | Apr 10, 2020

Submitted photo The Heart of America Germans from Russia building at the Prairie Village Museum in Rugby received new lighting fixtures last fall. Work continues on the building, funded by donations from community members in Pierce County and beyond.

A family and a charitable organization in Rugby were among nine individuals and groups throughout North Dakota to receive grants from the Northern Plains Electrical Cooperative’s Operation Round Up program last month.

A press release from the cooperative described the Operation Round Up program.

“These charitable grants are made possible through the generosity of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative members who voluntarily elect to have their electric bills rounded up to the next dollar. The donated amount averages about 50 cents a month for each participating member, and raises approximately $37,000 each year.”

Listed among the nine grant recipients were Brilee Mack, whose family was given a grant for medical care, and the Heart of America Germans from Russia, a Rugby organization dedicated to preserving the history of German Russian citizens who settled Pierce County.

Brilee Mack’s mom Bethany Ritterman Mack called the grant money “a God-send” via social media message. “Brilee continues to be a medical mystery at this point,” Mack wrote. “She has been doctoring at Mayo for almost four years and remains undiagnosed.”

Mack said doctors hoped the preschooler’s condition would improve as she grows, “but it is a waiting game at this point for her body to grow/change, for test results and medical advancements to come about. We are often hopping in a car and heading for Minnesota unplanned,” she wrote. “It’s very common for us to be there for days and weeks at a time.”

“We are very fortunate to have a supportive family and community,” Mack added. “Travel and medical treatment is costly. We are lucky to be able to continue to get her the treatment and care she needs with the help of generous people and programs.”

Sue Blessum, of the Heart of America Germans from Russian also expressed gratitude for the Northern Plains Electrical Cooperative grant in a social media message. “Their generosity is awesome,” Blessum wrote, “and, yes, monies will be used in the new Germans from Russia building that has been erected (at Rugby’s Prairie Village Museum)! Blessum said the grant money would be used “for displaying historical articles and pictures.”

“Since the program’s beginning in October 1998, grants totaling $796,562 have been awarded to 1,095 local charitable causes,” the Northern Plains Electrical Cooperative’s press release said.

The release said the co-op welcomed grant applications for Operation Round Up.

“Operation Round Up charitable grains are making a difference in the lives of people right here in our region,” the release said. “The Operation Round Up board meets every quarter to disburse funds to worthy individuals and organizations. The board will meet again in June to review applications. Application deadline is May 20, 2020.”

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