Stepping Back


Some of life’s events shake you to your core. A little over a month ago, I experienced one of those events. After feeling unwell most of Father’s Day, I went to the emergency room and was admitted for the night, with more testing planned for the following day.

The results of those, and subsequent tests, revealed the devastating news that no one wants to hear. I was diagnosed with colon cancer. To say I’ve spent the last few weeks in a bit of a fog is an understatement.

Each month in this column, I try to leave readers with a call to action—something you can do to support your local community, engage your elected officials, or become more involved with your electric cooperative. This month is no different.

This August, I encourage you to take care of your health. Schedule regular appointments with your health-care provider, and follow through with all recommendations, including regular screenings. Document your symptoms and share them with your doctor. Your best chance of beating most any illness is early detection.

I’ve begun treatment for this horrible disease and plan to fight it with everything I’ve got. As a result, I’m taking a step back from leading Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives but leave my work in the capable hands of my staff for the time being. I plan to return as soon as I can.

Depending on how I’m feeling, the message on this page in the upcoming months may continue to be penned by me, or you may hear from other leaders in the electric cooperative world. Rest assured, we’ll continue to work hard for co-op members across the state and provide you with relevant, useful information on this page.

I’d like to sincerely thank my family and the WECA board of directors and staff for their care and support.

August Primaries

A second call to action for readers this month echoes one I frequently talk about in this column—get out and vote. August 9 is the partisan primary in Wisconsin for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate as well as key statewide offices including governor, lieutenant governor, and state Assembly and Senate. Winners of these partisan primary races will face each other in the November 8 general election.

I encourage all readers to head to the polls. Rural Wisconsin faces some unique challenges, and it’s important to elect officials who understand our issues and will make our voices heard.

As always, I’ll never tell you who to vote for. I only encourage you to research the candidates, know where they stand on issues important to you and your electric cooperative, and elect them into office. And while you are at it, circle November 8 on your calendar. Election Day will be here before we know it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If so inclined, well wishes can be sent to Steve at:

Steve Freese
222 W. Washington Ave., Ste. 680
Madison, WI 53703