Drive-In Annual Meeting Fills Red Mountain Event Center

Cars parked at Benton REA's 2021 drive-in annual meeting

On the rainy morning of September 18, Benton REA hosted a drive-in annual meeting for the first time in the co-op’s 84 years.

“As a cooperative, we’re required to hold an annual meeting of the Benton REA members,” says General Manager Mike Bradshaw. “While planning the meeting, the number of COVID-19 patients being admitted to our local hospitals was rising and we believed a drive-in event was safer for our members and employees.”

The turnout for the modified 84th Annual Meeting of Benton REA Members was greater than organizers expected, drawing 124 co-op members.

Upon arrival at the Red Mountain Event Center, each member registered and received a bag containing meeting handouts and a door prize. Members drove around the race track to pick up a free boxed lunch and park for the duration of the meeting. Members in districts seven and eight were given the opportunity to vote for their trustee from their vehicle before the meeting began at 10:30 a.m.

During the meeting, members tuned their vehicle radios to 87.9 FM for audio. Vehicles parked behind the first row could watch the presenters and videos on a large LED movie screen.

The meeting began with an invocation led by Pastor Adam Bonus of Reliance Fellowship in West Richland.
The Columbia River Young Marines presented the colors and led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Members voted during the business meeting by honking their horns.

Benton REA showed three video reports during the meeting. All are available on Benton REA’s YouTube channel at www.BentonREA.org/YouTube.

Trustee Catherine Russell presented the secretary/treasurer’s report. President Connie Krull shared Benton REA’s current projects and services during her president’s video report. Bradshaw spoke about the co-ops dependence upon hydropower during the 2020 Annual Report video.

District 7 Trustee Connie Krull and District 8 Trustee Catherine Russell were reelected to serve three-year terms on the Benton REA Board of Trustees. Both candidates ran unopposed. Trustee Bob Evans counted the final votes and announced the results during the business meeting. 

Recipients of Benton REA’s continuing education scholarships for graduating high school seniors were announced, as were the winners of the 2021 safety poster contest.

Many member questions were answered by the cooperative’s senior staff. Members could submit questions in writing throughout the meeting. Co-op employees picked up question forms from vehicles throughout the meeting. No questions were submitted during Benton REA’s YouTube livestream of the event.

Throughout the meeting, 30 prizes were awarded to those whose names were drawn and who were present at the meeting. Winners of five $100 electric bill credits and five $500 grand prize bill credits were also drawn. The business meeting adjourned at 12:01 p.m.

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