Tom Henderson and Steve Rooney, linemen withPetit Jean Electric Cooperative, are preparing to work with linemen from other Arkansas electric cooperatives to perform a mission from the cooperatives’ history books by bringing electricity to rural residents — but this time the residents live in Guatemala. The Arkansas cooperatives are assisting the NRECA International Foundation with the project.

"Electric cooperatives were originally formed to provide reasonably priced electric service to rural Americans that otherwise would be unable to afford electricity," said Duane Highley, president and chief executive officer of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. "Electricity provided by electric cooperatives transformed lives in the 1940s. Over the next two years we will assist in transforming the lives of the residents of four remote villages in Huehuetenango, Guatemala."

He said the Arkansas electric cooperatives and ERMCO are donating materials, labor and funds to assist with the project. Cooperative crews will assist in construction of electric distribution line, related infrastructure and provide some training to local line workers. The Arkansas crews will depart in October.

Petit Jean Electric Cooperative serves approximately 19,785 members in nine counties in north central Arkansas. Incorporated in 1940, the cooperative operates offices in Clinton and Marshall. The locally owned and managed organization has 65 employees