December 12, 2016 (Onaway) – CoBank, a cooperative bank serving rural infrastructure providers throughout the United States, including electric cooperatives like Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, recently announced a new program for veterans with disabilities.  In partnership with its customers and the nonprofit group “No Barriers USA”, CoBank will sponsor up to 50 veterans from rural areas across the U.S. to participate in outdoor expeditions that challenge them mentally and physically and help them to transform their lives. PIE&G and other eligible CoBank borrowers will be able to nominate veterans from their local communities to participate in the No Barriers Warriors program, with CoBank covering the full cost for each veteran, including travel expenses. Selected veterans will go through the program in 2017.

“Every American owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve in the armed forces and protect our country,” said Brian Burns, PIE&G’s chief executive officer.  “Those who are wounded or injured in the course of duty are even more deserving of our thanks.  At PIE&G, we want to do our part to honor veterans and repay them for their service to the nation.”  Burns noted that over 5 million of the nation’s 22 million veterans are located in rural areas. PIE&G is looking to its members to nominate deserving individuals from their communities who would benefit from the No Barriers experience.

No Barriers was co-founded by Erik Weihenmayer, an internationally renowned mountain climber and the only blind person in history to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.  Weihenmayer has been a regular speaker at CoBank meetings over the past several years and has shared his inspirational message about overcoming barriers and challenges to live a life rich in meaning and purpose with the bank’s customers and employees.

“Through the Warriors program, No Barriers has been working with veterans with disabilities for years,” said Weihenmayer. “We’ve seen the transformation that takes place when veterans are able to overcome the mental and physical challenges involved in one of our expeditions, and then apply the skills they’ve learned to the challenges faced in the day-to-day lives. We’re grateful to CoBank for their partnership and opportunity to serve even more of our nation’s veterans with disabilities.”

Mr. Burns added “We look forward to partnering with CoBank to make this effort a success.”  Nominations of rural veterans with disabilities to participate in the 2017 program are being accepted immediately.  Candidates must have a VA disability rating.  Detailed information about the nomination process and requirements is available on Facebook (Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op), or by calling PIE&G Member Services at 1-800-423-6634.