news_oklahoma_proud2Tornado activity throughout the Midwest has been particularly destructive this spring. Nowhere has it been more intense than in the state of Oklahoma. Four major tornadoes caused billions of dollars of damage, killed almost 50 people and disrupted the lives of thousands. The storms left devastation in both urban and rural areas.

To extend a helping hand to those affected in co-op service areas, Blackwell, Oklahoma-based Kay Electric Cooperative has come up with a unique way to raise funds for tornado victims living in electric co-op service areas.

Working with NISC, Kay Electric is marketing “Oklahoma Proud” t-shirts, with all the funds going into the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperative’s (OAEC) Touchstone Energy Cooperative Oklahoma Relief Fund. The Fund is a 501c3 organization, with all donations tax-deductible.

According to Joe Harris, CEO of Kay Electric, the fundraising effort underscores the Sixth Cooperative Principal: Cooperation among Cooperatives.

“The tornadoes that ripped across our state have caused loss and heartache in co-op territory,” he said. “We know the unpredictable path of tornados can hit anywhere, at any time. While we’re thankful to be spared damage and disruption, many of our Oklahoma neighbors were not so lucky.”

Harris and the co-op’s Member Relations/Public Relations Representative, Austin Partida, contacted NISC which, through its iGEAR division, printed in excess of 1,000 “Oklahoma Proud” t-shirts for the effort based on Partida’s graphic design.

“We saw the need and we developed the fundraising plan. We needed the t-shirts and we contacted NISC,” said Partida. “NISC immediately saw the need and the opportunity to support our effort through iGEAR. They ordered the shirts and printed the design at their facilities.”

The Kay Electric team is marketing the “Oklahoma Proud” t-shirts through the organization’s Facebook page, a press release, and the marketing efforts of OAEC along with events. At the recent CFC Forum, held in Indianapolis in early June, many of the 1,200 attendees bought t-shirts. “We sold more than $20,000 in tornado relief t-shirts in two days,” said Harris. “This is another example of the generous heart of the electric co-op industry.”

“We are glad to be supporting this effort,” said NISC President & CEO, Vern Dosch. “Through the generous support of NISC employees, we are able to provide the t-shirts at no cost to Kay Electric Co-op’s effort. This means all the funds raised will go to victims in need.”

Each NISC location also hosted a social with t-shirt sales and free-will donations to continue to help those affected.

To purchase your “Oklahoma Proud” t-shirt in support of Oklahoma tornado victims, go to: or visit KEC’s Facebook page.