How Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman helped provide electricity to Utah Navajo Nation homes

Kyle Beckerman - RSLvHOU - 2018-05-30

Sometimes it's the smallest things most of our take for granted that mean the most to those in need.

One of those basic necessities is electricity, but for some 60,000 residents of the Navajo Nation in Utah who live without, power is a dire need.

As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman helped play a role in providing electricity to 10 Navajo Nation homes with the assistance of the Real Salt Lake Foundation, professional photographer Mylo Fowler, a Navajo Nation native who grew up without light for most of his childhood, and nonprofit Utah Diné Bikéyah.

Beckerman and his teammates auctioned off signed, game-worn jerseys, with the Real Salt Lake Foundation matching funds. That provided enough money for 40 solar systems in San Juan County.

“It’s neat that we can make a difference with a pretty simple thing," Beckerman said. “We can bring someone light who has been relying on a kerosene lantern.”

Many of the systems include a 50-watt panel and a self-contained battery system that can power a few LED lights or charge phones and other devices.

“One of the pillars of the Real Salt Lake Foundation is education,” Real Salt Lake Foundation executive director Mary VanMinde said.“And when you look at the largest county in the state of Utah [by geography], which is also the poorest county, this is a natural fit for us to help.”

VanMinde, with the help of the Heart of America Foundation and Utah Congressman John Curtis, distributed art supplies, soccer balls, toys and RSL gear during the home visits.

Families with the most need received the larger systems, including one family who needed to keep a child’s insulin cold. Before a solar-powered refrigerator, they relied on a makeshift root cellar outside.

In addition to being able to keep the insulin cold, the refrigerator allows the family to purchase fresher fruits and vegetables rather than rely on foods with a longer shelf life.

The installations provide immediate relief to families who, Fowler said, had for years been promised that they would get electricity.

Read the full story here.