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Meet the Finchers: A Co-op Family Making the Most of a Good Thing

family bucket truck
The Finchers, Debbi and Brad, moved to San Juan Island after a whale-watching trip, making them fall in love with the islands. Since then, they have made a full life for themselves on the island with active roles in the community and have raised two sons, Luke and Zach, who are both now in college.

Over the years, they have done a fantastic job of using the Co-op’s programs and incentives to make their home more efficient, save money and do the right thing for the environment. Most recently, they used OPALCO’s on-bill financing program, Switch It Up, to install a Ductless Heat Pump and have plans to install ductless heat pumpsolar on their roof this spring. OPALCO’s Switch it Up program makes it possible for members to finance energy efficiency and renewable power projects for their home or business at a low-interest rate, paid back over time on their power bill.

The family received their first capital credit check this past December, which means they’ve been OPALCO members for 25 years! “This was so cool to realize we have participated in the co-op for all these years,” said Debbi. “We love knowing that our island power comes from a community-centered and member-owned organization. We live in a beautiful place and appreciate that the Co-op gives us the ability to be thoughtful with our choices and contribute to the quality of life for everyone as we work together to build a healthy energy future.”

The Finchers are a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of family! As a Naturalist for a local eco-tour company and once a local guide for the Road Scholar Program, Debbi often shares the Co-op’s story and how submarine cables bring power to the islands. The Finchers have utilized many co-op programs, including installing a new highly efficient water heater with a rebate from OPALCO and fiber internet service with Rock Island. They are frequent flyers at co-op events like the EV Jamboree, San Juan County Fair, and Island Way workshops.

They both agree that the most enriching ways the family has been involved with OPALCO is through OPALCO’s Scholarship Program and Youth Rally. Both sons have been awarded scholarships from OPALCO. Zach attended the rally in 2017 and received $2,000 in scholarships from OPALCO and the Idaho Consumer-owned Utility Association – returning the following year as a youth leader (see Zach in the cover photo from his time at the rally). Luke was awarded a scholarship in 2022 but missed his chance to attend the Youth Rally due to COVID impacts.

This family gets the co-op principle of Concern for Community. “As islanders, we have to take care of each other and stay involved in the community,” said Brad. OPALCO agrees. It’s the co-op way.

family photo

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