Speaker Damon: ‘Light Up Navajo initiative impacts hundreds of Navajo children’

Speaker Seth Damon presents American Public Power Association leadership an appreciation plaque with Paulson Chaco, left, and NTUA CEO Walter Haase, right, after thanking the utilities that participated in the Light Up Navajo initiative at the APPA Conference in Austin, Texas. (Office of the Speaker)

Speaker Seth Damon presents American Public Power Association leadership an appreciation plaque with Paulson Chaco, left, and NTUA CEO Walter Haase, right, after thanking the utilities that participated in the Light Up Navajo initiative at the APPA Conference in Austin, Texas. (Office of the Speaker)

AUSTIN, Texas — On behalf of the Navajo Nation and the 24th Council, Speaker Seth Damon thanked the participants of the Light Up Navajo initiative at the American Public Power Association conference in Austin, Texas June 11.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority organized the initiative to connect 233 homes on the reservation to the electric grid under the leadership of CEO Walter Haase.

While serving as chairman of the APPA, Haase informed APPA member utilities that 15,000 homes on the reservation lack electricity. He solicited help from utilities in a fashion similar to the mutual relief efforts utilities extend to each other after natural disasters.

On June 5, the Naabik’íyáti Committee passed resolution NABIJN-30-19, sponsored by Speaker Damon, expressing the thanks of the Nation to the 28 utilities that volunteered labor and equipment to the initiative. Many donors also contributed to the effort as well.

“When the Council considered the legislation to thank your efforts, the delegates spoke —literally for several hours — about how impactful your work was and is to their communities,” Damon said.

Speaking to the APPA and the participant utilities, Damon conveyed the stories delegates shared with NTUA leadership at the June 5 consideration of the appreciation legislation.

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Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon speaks to participants of the Light Up Navajo initiative at the American Power Association conference in Austin, Texas June 11. (Office of the Speaker)

“Some stories were funny, yet endearing, like the family who just couldn’t break the habit of walking around with flashlights at night because they forgot they now had electric lamps,” Damon said. “And some stories were plain joyful, like the family who, with their new electric refrigerator, immediately went to the convenience store, to purchase popsicles for their children.”

“Because of your work, there are hundreds of children who will not have to ask their parents for flashlight batteries to complete their homework,” Damon said. “I ask, on behalf of the Nation, that when NTUA raises the call to help our people again, you send your workers. We will not forget your work and we are eternally grateful.”

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer extended their appreciation to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and the 26 utilities companies from around the country, who made the “Light Up Navajo” initiative a success by bringing electricity to more than 230 Navajo families on the Navajo Nation.

“By working together and creating successful partnerships, great accomplishments can happen and make a positive difference in our communities. This initiative is a big step forward for our people and our Nation. The Nez-Lizer Administration is truly thankful to NTUA, the 26 utility companies, and the many volunteers for their hard work,” Nez said.

Information provided by the Office of the Speaker

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