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2020 Hall of Fame fetes four outstanding cooperators

Ben Burkett, Everett Dobrinski, Carmen Huertas-Noble and Michael Mercer were officially inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame on October 8. They join 173 outstanding cooperators inducted since 1976.

The inductees shared observations about their careers and the impact of cooperatives in their communities during a casual conversation moderated by Doug O'Brien, NCBA CLUSA President and CEO. The evening's induction ceremony included commemorative videos of each inductee, nominator remarks and inductee speeches.

In accepting his award, Ben Burkett stated, "We know the value of being in a cooperative…. We know the value of working together and sticking together and during these hard times with the economy and the virus we must continue to work even more closely together today and tomorrow, especially the African American farmers in the South."

Drawing attention to the many cooperators that influenced his cooperative career, Everett Dobrinski said, "This honor is so special because it honors so much more than the individuals inducted. The honor belongs to the countless number of people associated with our cooperatives. That's where people work together to get things done to make all of our lives better."

Carmen Huertas Noble emphasized the power of co-ops in transforming the economy. "One of the things that I've always loved about worker cooperatives are the principles that guide the work, the inter-cooperation. Co-ops and union co-ops offer a real opportunity to help transform our economy and our culture making our economy more inclusive for all, especially if we work together."

"There has never been a better opportunity for co-ops to demonstrate that cowboy individualism is a poor way to achieve progress for most. Co-ops can show that working together and owning together is critical for reducing wealth disparity. And, there has never been a better moment for Americans to realize that co-ops can legitimately lead toward a society liberated from the scar of racial prejudice," said Michael Mercer to close out the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

The 2020 Hall of Fame was sponsored by CFC, CoBank, IFFCO, National Co+op Grocers, NRECA, and Nationwide. The 2021 Hall of Fame will be held at the National Press Club on October 7.

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