Southern Pioneer Electric H.U.G.S. Grant Helps USD 254 Build Outdoor Multi-Purpose Area

Representatives of Southern Pioneer Electric presents employees of USD 254 with a check for $1,800 courtesy of the company’s H.U.G.S. (Helping Us Give To Society) Program on Wednesday, January 6. The district will utilize the funds to continue the construction of its outdoor multi-purpose space. The space will be a permanent part of the grade school campus in Medicine Lodge.

“The space will be shaded and protected from weather,” said Becky Catlin, student support coordinator. “This space will allow our teachers to move their classrooms outside occasionally to engage students in a more interactive setting suitable for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)  activities, as well as allow us to spread out our students for a more comfortable and healthy lunch experience.”

The space will feature a structure to supply shade and shelter from weather, benches, storage and tables. Landscaping will also be added to help create a welcoming environment for students, staff and the public.

“This space is truly a space for the entire community,” said Dee Longoria, energy services coordinator for Southern Pioneer Electric. “The area will give teachers access to a great outdoor classroom; but also provide a space for community members and visiting schools to enjoy during sports and other recreational activities.”

Funds for the H.U.G.S. program are made possible when materials like pieces of steel, copper and aluminum are taken out of service and recycled. Over time, the recycled funds can accumulate. As funds become available, Southern Pioneer Electric seeks out projects within its service territory focused on community improvement to fund.

Southern Pioneer to Offer $21,000 in Scholarships

Southern Pioneer Electric’s scholarship program is now open to students graduating high school in 2021 with plans to attend a postsecondary education institution (in-person or online) during the fall 2021 semester. This year, Southern Pioneer Electric will offer $21,000 in general scholarships as well as $3,000 in scholarships to any students seeking to enroll in an Electrical Power Technology program.

To be considered for the scholarships, an applicant must complete the application in a timely manner and be a 2021 high school graduate and reside within the district of one of the following schools: Ashland, Cunningham, Fowler, Kiowa County, South Barber, Liberal, Medicine Lodge, Minneola, Satanta, Skyline, South Central, Southwestern Heights and Sublette. Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 2, 2021 in order to be considered. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Students may submit their application online via  Southern Pioneer Electric’s scholarship page.

Questions regarding scholarships or the application process may be directed to Dee Longoria, Energy Services Coordinator, at or by calling 620-356-1211.

Southern Pioneer Awards Cunningham Community Center $3,000 in H.U.G.S Grants for Kitchen Remodel

Representatives from Southern Pioneer Electric presented the Cunningham Community Center with a check for $3,000 in grant funds to help cover the cost of its recent kitchen remodel. The grant was presented to the Cunningham Community Center Board of Directors, in front of the community center.

“Businesses that rely on event income are seeing the effects of the pandemic,” said Anita Wendt, vice president of energy services and H.U.G.S. team member. “With this grant, The Cunningham Community Center will be able to recoup some of the income that has been lost pay for the remodel.”

The community center is booked for events, including birthdays, anniversaries, business meetings and various gatherings of local organizations. The center feels the kitchen remodel is essential in helping update the aesthetic and efficiency of the space. Events are expected to resume and increase moving into the holiday season.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors for the Cunningham Community Center we are very grateful to receive this H.U.G.S. grant to keep our community center updated for everyone to use and be proud of,” said Jack Crick, president of the Cunningham Community Center board.

Funds for the H.U.G.S. program are generated through recycled scrap materials taken out of service due to repair or rebuild. As funds are collected, Southern Pioneer Electric puts those funds towards grants for organizations with community-focused projects.

Southern Pioneer Electric Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pioneer Electric Cooperative, is headquartered out of Ulysses, Kansas. Southern Pioneer Electric Company has local offices in Liberal and Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Southern Pioneer Electric Company serves approximately 17,200 customers and operates in 10 counties and 34 communities. Southern Pioneer Electric Company’s service territory stretches east from Liberal to Medicine Lodge and north to Kingman and back west to Greensburg, Kansas. Southern Pioneer Electric Company is dedicated to providing customers with safe and reliable electric service. For more information about the HUGS program, please contact Vice President of Energy Services, Anita Wendt. (Phone: 620.424.5271 and E-mail: