In January of 2017, Delaware Electric Cooperative member Karli Swope was named a winner in Touchstone Energy’s national #WhoPowersYou contest. Swope was named a winner for her efforts to rescue and care for animals at the Grass Roots Rescue Society, which she co-founded.
The contest asked members of electric cooperatives across the country to nominate individuals who have made a difference in their communities. Karli was nominated by her friend, Bonnie Arvay. Her entry received more than 1,200 online votes.
According to Arvay, “In the time that I’ve known Karli Swope, my appreciation for the work she does, day in and day out, has not stopped growing. Over $50,000 has been spent in that time on community aid, mostly in the form of medical assistance to animals in need, resulting in an untold number of animal lives being saved. She powers both my community and my belief
Swope said, “It’s a great feeling to be recognized nationally. People tell us pretty regularly that they appreciate what we do, but it’s nice to have people who haven’t met us or interacted with us appreciate the work we do and the time we spend away from our families, to be able to do this and do it the right way.”
Swope and Brittani Clegg founded the Grass Roots Rescue Society in 2013 in Rehoboth. Since then, Swope and Clegg have helped rescue and find homes for more than 600 animals.
“It’s terrible. You would be shocked if you knew the number of animals in Delaware that are abused or neglected,” said Swope.
The animals Swope, Clegg and more than 20 active volunteers have been able to rescue had a variety of issues and needs. A few months ago Grass Roots rescued two English bulldogs, Oslo and Ivar, from a local breeder. Because of a genetic defect, the two puppies’ leg bones had not fused and they had to be fitted for casts. The dogs will be just fine and will soon be offered up for adoption.
Grass Roots Rescue Society doesn’t currently own a building that can be used as a stand-alone shelter. That means all of the animals they rescue and rehabilitate are fostered by the organization’s volunteers.
“It helps with adoption. When you adopt from a shelter, they can only tell you so much about what a dog is like. They can’t tell you what a dog is like in certain situations or around people or machinery. When they’re in a foster home, you can tell prospective owners a lot more about a dog and there’s less chance of the dog being returned to Grass Roots,” said Swope.
Swope and Clegg said they hope to eventually expand their efforts and open a shelter, but an expansion will require funds, likely raised through donations. For now, they will continue focusing their efforts on helping as many animals as they can.
According to Swope, “People don’t realize what it takes to run the Rescue. When there’s a problem, you don’t just snap your fingers and solve the problem. There’s a lot of work that goes into making dogs adoptable, caring for them and finding them a home.”
As a result of Swope being named a winner in the contest, the Rescue received a donation from Touchstone Energy and a $1,000 donation from Delaware Electric Cooperative. The money helped the Grass Roots Rescue Society further its mission to help needy animals across Delaware.
Touchstone Energy represents a nationwide alliance of member-owned electric co-ops, including Delaware Electric Cooperative. To learn more about the contest
and to view other winning
entries, please visit
To read more about the work of the Grass Roots Rescue Society and learn how to volunteer or donate, please visit www.grrde.org.