2021 winners selected in collaboration with four rural electric cooperative clients to showcase impact of high-speed internet in rural America

Conexon is proud to announce the winners of our 2021 Conexon Internet Grant program! Our pilot award program was organized in collaboration with four rural electric cooperative clients in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The program is one of our ways of giving back to the local communities we serve, in this case by awarding a year of free Gigabit-speed broadband service to four individuals who shared their stories of how their lives and businesses have been changed by the availability of high-speed internet.


Conexon partnered with electric cooperative fiber broadband subsidiary providers Pemiscot-Dunklin Fiber (Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric) and GoSemo (SEMO Electric) in Missouri, ecoLINK (East Central Oklahoma Electric) in Oklahoma, and WAVE Rural Connect (Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative) in Arkansas to pilot the 2021 grant program, with the goal of expanding the program in the future. Members from each electric cooperative had the opportunity to apply by submitting a short essay about how broadband internet access has made a difference in their life or their community. We were overwhelmed by the number of compelling and heartfelt stories you shared!

Selecting just one winner from each co-op was tough, but we are pleased to congratulate our national winners:

Congratulations to Conexon’s national winners:

Rick & Renee Aufdenberg – GoSemo
Melton R. Smith – WAVE Rural Connect
Jason W. Bishop – Pemiscot-Dunklin Fiber
Amanda McLemore – ecoLINK

In addition to the national Conexon awards, the individual cooperatives also offered additional grants.

Congratulations to the additional co-op winners:

Kimberly K. Sahlfeld-Bunger – GoSemo
Kim Paul – GoSemo
Jennifer Hardcastle – WAVE Rural Connect
Doug R. Ross – WAVE Rural Connect
Felicia Dogan – Pemiscot-Dunklin Fiber
D’Anne Hanson – ecoLINK

The 2021 Conexon Internet Grant pilot collaboration captured stories with a focus on remote learning, education, career advancement, and other opportunities created by high-speed internet access. The selected stories will be showcased on social media channels in the coming weeks.

Conexon anticipates expanding the Internet Grant Program in 2022 and beyond, opening more opportunities to give back throughout rural America.

Details of future programs can be found at