Life Sustaining Awards
Every year MEA recognizes individuals from our member companies who have saved the life of another.
Questions? Contact John Gann at (651) 289-9600 x105.
- William Jones, overhead electric specialist | ComEd
Halts violent attack and assists wounded victim.
While responding to a lock out, Jones noticed two individuals running and heard one of the individuals call out to a nearby security guard for help. Soon after, the person who called out for help was taken down by their attacker who proceeded to stab and slash the victim. Jones called 911 and the DA to report the incident and then grabbed his first aid and CPR kit and ran to the victim. Jones was able to administer aid, he applied pressure to the most severe wounds and kept the victim safe until further help arrived.
- Timothy Walsh, engineering design tech | ComEd
Rescues child from partially submerged vehicle.
Walsh discovered an over-turned minivan in a pond and saw a distraught woman yelling, saying that her children were still in the vehicle. Walsh, along with two others, entered the 40-degree water and worked to free two 10-year-old children from the vehicle. The van was 30 feet from shore in about five feet of water. The first child was safely removed. To free the second child, Walsh climbed on top of the vehicle and attempted to pry open the passenger side door with a tool provided by another pedestrian. The fire department arrived with the jaws of life tool and proceeded to finish prying open the door. Walsh was later admitted to the hospital due to exposure to extreme cold and vehicle exhaust.
- Gus Skaliotis, material handler; Les Cednick, manager material & logistics; Victor Pope, senior material handler | ComEd
Distracts and assists with preventing a young woman’s suicide.
The team came upon a woman standing on the ledge of a parking garage attempting to jump to her death. Skaliotis ran to the top of the garage and engaged the young woman in a dialogue. Cednick was trained by the military for suicides, so he and Pope planned for the worst and prepared to catch the woman should she jump. They also directed the fire department to block the entrance to stop employees from driving in and requested a blanket or net. Meanwhile, Skaliotis continued to talk to the woman and distracted her while the Chicago Police Department came up behind her to pull her down from the ledge.
- Jeremy Walters, foreman | Henkels & McCoy, Inc.
Saves a man’s life with CPR.
While driving back from a job, Walters came across an older gentleman attempting to do CPR on the driver of a stopped vehicle. Walters initiated his strobe lights and turned his truck around to help. He told the older gentleman to call 911 and moved the non-responsive driver from the vehicle and proceeded to perform CPR. Walters managed to get the man breathing before the fire department arrived.
- Edwin Lane, foreman and Leo Richardson Jr., foreman | Miller Pipeline
Assists a man suffering from a stroke and calls 911
Shortly after arriving at a job site, Lane approached the homeowner outside the home. Lane noticed that the gentleman’s speech was slow and the left side of his face was drooping. He yelled back across the road for assistance from Richardson. They immediately called 911 and assisted the gentleman, who was having a stroke, until EMT arrived on site.
- Michael LeClaire, operator | Miller Pipeline
Assists a father in conducting the Heimlich maneuver on his young child.
LeClaire stopped his backhoe on the way to the yard to help a couple of pedestrians, who waved him down for help. Once he parked his backhoe, he approached the couple, and saw a 12-month-old child that was choking and needed assistance. The mother was on the phone with emergency services, and the father was in a state of panic. LeClaire calmly instructed the father to turn the child on its stomach and try to clear the airway. After a few attempts, the father was able to dislodge a piece of candy wrapper from the child’s throat, clearing the airway.
- Brian Hunter, trouble shooter north | We Energies
Saves a trapped man from suffocating.
Hunter was helping to restore power after a July storm. As Hunter worked on damaged equipment, he saw a man get pinned by a tree while using a tractor to remove it. “I knew he was in trouble,” said Hunter.
He was indeed in trouble; the tree was across the man’s throat. Hunter jumped on the tractor and put it in reverse, hoping to relieve pressure on the man’s neck. He then grabbed his saw and cut the tree, eventually freeing the man. Hunter said the man thanked him for saving his life.
- Jared Cartee, general engineer | ComEd
"Assisted a woman after she suffered a car accident."
While driving on-duty, Cartee observed a major two car accident. Cartee and another bystander broke open car windows to get to a seriously wounded woman. Her legs were pinned and bleeding. Cartee and the other bystander ripped the center console out to make the woman more comfortable until paramedics arrived.
- Jeremy Rykard, executive admin coordinator | ComEd
"Rescued a woman from a sparking vehicle moments before it went up in flames."
Rykard assisted a dazed woman out of a sparking vehicle moments before it went up in flames. Had he driven away without stopping and acting, the results would have been tragic.
- Steve Rosenthal, cable splicer | ComEd
"Used the Heimlich maneuver to save a life."
Rosenthal’s colleague began showing signs of choking while eating. Rosenthal asked if the colleague was OK, the motioned no, so he began the Heimlich maneuver and was able to help them breath again.
- Payton Clark, apprentice four | Henkels & McCoy
"Saves a man’s life with CPR."
Clark was working on a transmission project in Southern Ill. when the crew noticed a tractor coming toward them. The driver appeared unconscious and was slumped over the steering wheel. The crew called 911, got the man off the tractor, and Clark began CPR. The farmer fully recovered after he was treated in hospital.
- Adam Zeciri, product manager – locate products | SENSIT Technologies
"Saved a heart attack victim."
Zeciri was conducting a class when one of the students passed out from having a massive heart attack. Zeciri recognized the seriousness of the situation and immediately sought aid. Zeciri’s efforts caught the attention of nurses in the office who quickly began emergency treatment. In the absence of Zeciri’s persistent efforts to secure emergency help, the student likely would not have survived.
- Chris Beu, underground helper | ComEd
“Energy tech provides CPR to unconscious customer”
Energy Tech Chris Beu was working at a customer’s home in Amboy, and after speaking with one of the homeowners, Chris walked around to the back of the customer’s house and found the customer’s husband unconscious and face down in the lawn. Chris immediately went to the aid of the gentleman, checking for a pulse and breath. With the assistance of the neighbor, Chris made sure 911 was called and then assisted with CPR. Chris was commended for going above and beyond the call of duty.
- Michael Grazioli, sr. environmental compliance specialist; Timothy Griseto, sr. environmental coordinator; and John Stranges, sr. training specialist | ComEd
“Volunteer group comes to aid of special needs individual in water"
Sr. Environmental Compliance Specialist Michael Grazioli, Sr. Environmental Coordinator Timothy Griseto and Sr. Training Specialist John Stranges were participating in a Special Needs Children’s Adventure Day at Saint James Farm. The team assisted with helping Special Needs children with interactive outdoor activities including fishing, archery and kayaking. One of the Special Needs participants was kayaking and accidentally flipped over his kayak while still inside and was unable to free himself. A DuPage County Forest Preserve District volunteer, in another kayak, recognized the individual was in trouble and went to his aid. The kayak quickly filled with water while upside down and began to sink with the individual trapped inside. The Forest Preserve District volunteer struggled to turn the kayak upright and was unsuccessful after several attempts. Recognizing the severity of the situation, several members of the Support Services kayaking volunteer team including Michael, Tim and John, immediately entered the water and went to the aid of the trapped kayaker to assist with the rescue. Michael, Tim, John and the Forest Preserve District volunteer were able to free the trapped kayaker and pull him safely to the shore. Based on their timely, unselfish efforts in going above and beyond their duties as employees and representatives of ComEd, this individual’s life was saved from a potential drowning event.
- Kathryn Telford, team leader-WPS Care Center | WEC Energy Group – Wisconsin Public Service Corp.
“Team leader helps choking victim”
Katy and her husband were out for dinner at a local restaurant in Lena, WI. A fellow customer began choking on his food and another customer began to perform the Heimlich, however the choking and coughing continued. Katy intervened and took over performing the Heimlich and was able to successfully dislodge the food that was causing the customer to choke!
- Reid Nettleingham, crew leader; Thomas Brady, overhead electrician; and Ryan Hardgrove, overhead electrician starter | ComEd
“Overhead Pontiac Crew rescues elderly woman stopped in traffic on I-55”
Nettleingham, Brad, and Hargrove were traveling north bound on Interstate 55 when they noticed a vehicle that was at a stop in the passing lane of the highway. As they passed the vehicle they noticed that the driver looked distraught. They decided to turn around to assist and make the situation safer until the police could arrive. The woman driver of the car did not seem to know where she was, was not dressed for the weather and spoke of a deceased child. While trying to calm the woman down she made several attempts to run into traffic and was stopped by the crew each time. The crew called 911 and as the police officer’s approached the woman made another attempt to dart into traffic but was once again stopped by the crew. She was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
- Brian Kulczak, engineering tech | ComEd
“Joliet Engineering Tech rescues infant from burning vehicle”
On September 7, 2016 Joliet Engineering Tech Brian Kulczak was traveling Southbound on 1-55 when a non-ComEd vehicle, that was also traveling Southbound, started on fire. Before this vehicle came to a complete stop, the driver and passenger jumped from the car. As Brian came to a safe and complete stop, he passed by the burning vehicle and noticed there was a car seat in the rear of the vehicle. Brian quickly reacted and entered the smoke filled burning vehicle and safely extricated the infant from the car seat. Brian then ensured someone had called 911 and checked on the well-being of the mother and father who had exited the vehicle while it was still in motion due to the smoke and heat. EMS personnel arrived to provide further assistance.
- Ed Abbott, field operations supervisor; William Bills, distribution mechanic; Tim Erickson, distribution mechanic; Ernie Garcia, distribution technician; Kara Kowalski, distribution mechanic; James Sargent, service mechanic; Steve Tamayo, distribution technician; John Tomaszewski, distribution mechanic; Robert Terdich, construction supervisor; & Dale VanderBoegh, distribution technician | Nicor Gas
“Nicor Gas employees' selfless acts save a co-worker”
Late last fall a cable contractor was digging in Nicor territory and hit a natural gas main causing a leak. Several responders and distribution crews arrived to begin the leak investigation and secure the scene. They followed all protocols, but despite their efforts, a house exploded on the property where they were working. The Nicor team were shaken but remembered to conduct a roll call to account for the 11 employees on-site. When Operations Mechanic, Tom Smith didn’t answer, they had to act fast. They worked together to determine his last known location and came upon his boots in the rubble and found him under the collapsed front porch roof. They tried to lift the roof off him and when that did not work, they began using tools from their trucks to cut the roof into segments. By time the fire department and paramedics arrived they had made significant progress in freeing Smith.
- Brandon Moser, operator 3; Chad Bender, operator 1; and Kevin Allard, operator 1 | Montana-Dakota Utilities
“Montana-Dakota Group Save a Woman Suffering from an Aneurysm”
Allard, Bender, and Moser were moving building materials into the Allard’s backyard when Mary Allard collapsed. Allard, Bender, and Moser immediately came to her assistance but Mary was unresponsive. Moser called 911 while Bender and Kevin administered CPR. An emergency crew arrived and Mary was taken to a hospital. She was treated for a ruptured aneurysm in her brain and is expected to make a full recovery, thanks to the quick response of Allard, Bender, and Moser.
- John Pornovets, first responder (gas ops) | Elizabethtown Gas, An AGL Resources Company
“CPR Training Used to Save a Life”
Pornovets was stopped behind an 18-wheeler at a red light. When the light changed, the truck veered into the guard rail, blocking a portion of the road. As he drove past, he did not see the driver, so he pulled over and approached the truck. He called 911, opened the cab and shut off the vehicle and found the driver slumped over inside the cab. Pornovets moved over to the passenger side of the vehicle and asked if the driver was okay, there was no response. Pornovets recalled his CPR training and assessed that the person was not breathing. He pulled the driver from the cab, lay him on the grass and began to perform CPR. When police arrived, Pornovets continued CPR until the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was ready.
- William (Bill) Beyer, relay tech | WEC Energy Group - We Energies
“Saves Suicidal Woman”
Beyer was returning to the service center when he got caught in slow traffic over a bridge. He noticed a teenage girl who had climbed over the railing of the bridge and appeared ready to jump. Beyer got out of his vehicle and slowly approached the girl. She never told him to stop, so he kept getting closer. He got close enough to grab her, so when she turned back to look at the river, he quickly pulled her over the railing and cradled her in his lap until police arrived a couple minutes later.
- Steve Yehle, director fas SAP development | Xcel Energy Corp
“Man Saves Woman During Flight”
Yehle was on a flight when a woman became unconscious. The flight crew requested a doctor or nurse to assist, none responded. Yehle then volunteered to help. He utilized the extensive training he had received over the years as a gas emergency responder and as a volunteer fire fighter to assist the patient. He performed a primary assessment and administered oxygen to the patient. She soon became alert; her color returned and she made to the gate safely where she was met by EMS.
- Paul Nohr, operations supervisor | Wisconsin Public Service
“Operations Supervisor Saves Drowning Person”
While on vacation in Mexico, Nohr was swimming when he heard a faint cry for help. He turned and discovered his friend going under water. Nohr approached the panicking swimmer and attempted to bring him to shore. After struggling to assist the panicking swimmer for a while, Nohr eventually got him to shore.
- Brian Kayzar, field operations supervisor | ComEd
“Construction Supervisor Takes Action for Life Threatening Situation to Employee”
Kayzar noticed atypical behavior from one of his overhead electricians. The man complained of feeling warm and then Kayzar found him sitting down, resting. When the electrician complained of feeling nauseous, Kayzer immediately told him to sit back down and called 911. The ambulance transported the electrician to the emergency room where he was listed in critical condition. After arriving at the hospital, the electrician had to be resuscitated twice. Kayzar’s quick action probably saved the man’s life.
- Joshua Rieck, area operator | ComEd
“Operator Aids Taxi Driver After Rolling Vehicle”
Rieck was driving on his way to work when he observed a taxi cab veer into his lane and continue until it went off the road into a ditch. The vehicle rolled two times and ended up with the driver’s side to the ground. Rieck promptly stopped his call and told a woman, who also stopped, to call 911. He ran to the car and found the driver conscious with a severe injury to his forehead, glass in his face and neck, as well as his leg jammed under the steering wheel. He did not want to move the driver but another pedestrian said the car’s engine was on fire. Rieck and the second person decided to safely remove the driver out of the vehicle and lay him a safe distance away from the vehicle. Rieck then went back to make sure there was no one else in the vehicle. He then attended to the driver and worked to keep him conscious until EMS arrived.
- Lawrence Grisko, energy tech and Joseph Cavalco, energy tech | ComEd
“Two AMI Energy Techs Respond to Occupied Vehicle Fire”
Cavalco was returning to the reporting office when he came to the scene of a nearby vehicle accident. The accident involved a semi-truck with trailer and a passenger vehicle. The passenger vehicle was on fire when Cavalco arrived. Cavalco used his company fire extinguisher in an attempt to control the fire and prevent further injuries to the already injured driver. Grisko also drove by and stopped to assist. Grisko, Cavalco, and other Good Samaritans attempted to free the injured driver from the burning vehicle. Their repeated attempts were unsuccessful, it took the paramedics to finish the rescue safely.
- Spencer Gedwill, meter reader | ComEd
“Meter Reader Saves Diabetic Man”
Gedwill was on his route when he came upon an unresponsive man lying on the ground near a stairwell of a residence. Gedwill observed that the man was having difficulty breathing and was shaking. When asked as to his wellbeing, the man mumbled he was diabetic. Gedwill contacted 911 and was advised to keep the man awake and to remind the man to breathe. Once on scene, the paramedics confirmed that the man was going into a diabetic coma and provided the necessary treatment.
- Carlos Guevera, account representative | ComEd
“LCS Account Manager Provides CPR to Unresponsive Citizen and Saves a Life”
Carlos, was attending a church service, when he noticed a man in distress. After assessing the situation, Carlos performed CPR on the unresponsive man. He continued to provide assistance until the Chicago Fire department arrived.
- Travis Perry, meter reading manager and Cedric Weathers, field and meter services manager | ComEd
“Customer Operations Managers Rescue Elderly Man from Burning Vehicle”
Southern Region Meter Reading Managers Travis Perry and Cedric Weathers pulled over to help an elderly man who was trapped in a burning car. As they called 911, they removed the man from the car; ensuring he was a safe distance away in case the car were to explode. When fire and EMS crews arrived, Travis and Cedric were able to safely stop traffic so emergency vehicles could get to the scene.
- Eduardo Suarez, safety field services manager | ComEd
“ComEd Safety Managers Pulls Elderly Women from Vehicle Moments before Train Collision”
An elderly woman inadvertently drove down some railroad tracks towards an on-coming train. Without hesitation, Ed got out of his vehicle and ran towards the car; throwing rocks at the car to get her attention. Once the vehicle came to a stop, Ed carried the elderly woman to safety; moments later the train hit the car.
- James Sawyer, supervisor – construction | ComEd
“Joliet First Line Supervisor Saves Choking Man at Job Site”
After conducting a job walk down, James heard the homeowner banging on the window. James quickly rushed back in the house and found that the homeowner was choking on a piece of food. James administered the Heimlich maneuver saving the man’s life.
- Thomas Moore, senior distribution systems dispatcher | ComEd
“Senior Distribution Systems Dispatcher Saves Driver from Burning Vehicle”
Moore was involved in a multi-car accident and still managed to rendered aid to others in the crash. He noticed that one car was on fire and immediately went to assist to the driver. Moore was able to remove the man from the car before the flames engulfed the car.
- Edward Hines, supervisor-field operations | ComEd
“Substation Operations Supervisor Provides Emergency Care to Heart Attack Victim”
While driving, Hines noticed a camper swerve off the road. He immediately pulled alongside the trailer and approached the driver side door to provide assistance. While assessing the man’s condition, the man’s wife told Hines she believe he suffered a heart attack while driving. Hines began CPR and confirmed that medical assistance was on the way. Hines also helped the victim’s wife gather her belongings to ride in the ambulance when it arrived.
- Dave Shepley, Ben Reis & Chad Chicoine | MidAmerican
“MidAmerican Crew uses a Boom Truck to Save a Crushed Truck Driver”
Truck driver Rick Dawson was helping a fellow truck driver on the side of the road when the truck moved, crushing him. MidAmerican crew members, Chicoine, Reis, and Shepley were working near the scene of the accident and came to help. They used their boom truck to lift the tractor trailer off Dawson’s chest. Dawson sustained 22 broken ribs that day but survived due to the immediate action of the MidAmerican crew members.
- James Baseler, gas fitter | We Energies
“Gas Fitter Baseler Saves a Man Attempting Suicide”
During an apartment building leak investigation, Baseler discovered a man attempting suicide by inhaling gas fumes. Baseler removed a gas line from the man’s mouth and plastic bag from his head before attempting to revive him. Baseler also turned off the gas, at the meters, to the building. He then checked to make sure all the apartment residents were out of the building and he evacuated the neighboring building in case the first building ignited.
- Dusty Hendrickson, journeyman lineman – IBEW 44; Mike McCabe, journeyman lineman –IBEW 44; Casey Rocco, journeyman lineman –IBEW 44; Cody Yurek, town manager – IBEW 44; Pete Torgerson, supervisor electric operations; and Melanie Pickens, customer associate | NorthWestern Energy
"Journeyman Line Crew, Town Manager and Customer Associate Help Injured Arborist in Little Belt Mountains”
A NorthWestern Energy crew was approached by a tree-trimming crew on a remote area of the Little Belt Mountain in Montana. The crew was looking for help as a fellow arborist was severely hurt and in need of immediate medical attention. Due to the remote nature of the area, phone service was not available. The NorthWestern crew had to work as a team to create an extensive communication and support plan to ensure medical assistance could get to the injured arborist in time. The team split up to assume various communications, safety, and life sustaining roles. Within three hours, the crew was able to radio for medical support, hike to the injured arborist, and provide evacuation and first aid assistance while on site.
- Grant Orrock, lineman and Eric Spielman, lineman | Xcel Energy
While leaving work after being released from callout duty, Grant and Eric noticed a residential fire nearby their service center. Arriving on the scene, they dialed 911, investigated and learned that an elderly woman was possibly trapped inside the house next to the burning garage. Grant and Eric decided to investigate and cut through a storm door that had been nailed shut. They pushed the inside door open to enter the house. They noticed smoke was entering the house and calling aloud located the woman and brought her outside to safety just as the police and fire departments were arriving to help.
- Donald Bonwell, supervisor of operations training support | OPPD
Don was driving to work early one morning when he came upon a wrecked pickup truck. The vehicle was burning and the driver was still inside. Several individuals, including a coworker, Joe Braun, were attempting to pull open the passenger door to free the driver while also fighting the fire with fire extinguishers. At this point they had only managed to bend the top of the door. Don noticed the flames beginning to enter the cab of the truck and that the driver was reacting to the heat. Reassuring the driver, whose injuries appeared serious, Don quickly reached inside the truck and with the help of another individual, pulled the driver from the burning vehicle. Shortly after, the local rescue vehicles arrived. Having served in the Gulf War, Don commented “In the Gulf you are prepared for situations like this…Here it was totally reactive, where the adrenaline just takes over and allows you to deal with the situation…”
- Chad Walsh, Vac-Truck supervisor | United Piping, Inc.
Chad was on the job when he noticed that the site inspector looked pale. He asked if the inspector was feeling ok and was told that the inspector felt dizzy. Chad could tell that something was seriously wrong, so he asked if the inspector felt any tingling in his fingers or arms – the answer was yes. Chad got an ATV to transport the inspector, who by that time was disoriented. By the time they arrived at the jobsite inspection trailer the inspector was suffering a seizure. Someone at the site called 911 and Chad asked another to retrieve the AED from inside the trailer. Chad attached the AED which advised not to shock at this point. Chad relayed the AED reading to 911 thru the other staffer. Chad stayed with the inspector until EMT’s arrived.
- Jim Cadwell, chief plant material handler; Dan Tollison, master maintenance technician; and Nate Sievers, environmental specialist | Alliant Energy – Columbia Energy Center
Jim, Dan, and Nate helped an Alliant Energy’s Columbia Power Plant employee who was in distress. The employee thought he was having a heart attack. Jim called 911 and kept the employee comfortable before help arrived. Nate came to assist and gave the employee three baby aspirin to chew and he and Dan started acquiring vitals. They applied 15 liters of oxygen via a non-rebreather mask and had the AED ready in the event that they would need to use it. EMT’s took over and discovered that the employee had experienced a heart attack.
- Paul Conner, engineering technician | DTE Energy
In December 2013, Paul Conner was working in the River Rouge Power Plant warehouse when he observed a fellow employee collapse. While waiting for site medical to arrive, Paul noticed the employee was not breathing. Using his knowledge of safety procedures and life saving training, he initiated CPR. After one chest compression and Paul’s quick action, the employee started breathing again and was responsive. Paul stayed with the employee until paramedics arrived.
- Travis Gulbranson, foreman line construction and Mat Weber, foreman line construction | Xcel Energy
Travis Gulbranson and Mat Weber were on their way home from work one day this past summer when they noticed a semi truck about to go down a one-way road. The truck started backing up and jack knifed, halting traffic in both directions. Travis got out of his car, opened the semi’s door and noticed the driver was unconscious. Travis called 911 and Mat and another passerby, dragged the driver from the truck and administered CPR until the medics arrived. The driver of the truck was apparently having a heart attack. According to doctors, the driver would not be planning a trip home from the hospital had Travis and Mat not responded as quickly as they did.
- Russ Goodrich, senior service representative | DTE Energy
Russ performed a fantastic deed while at a graduation party. At the party, several people decided to go swimming in a pond. Children were playing in the pond and the water went up over one of the boys’ head. The boy’s mother noticed this and jumped in to assist him. She was not able to swim well and she also started to go under the water’s surface. Russ, noticing that they were having difficulties, ran to the pond, dove in and rescued the two party guests.
- Tom Jendusa, field collector – customer service and Paula Fails, team leader – customer service | We Energies
Jendusa was checking on homes that had been disconnected prior to the start of the winter shut off to ensure there were no safety issues. Jendusa approached one home and heard the sound of a running generator – inside the home. He spoke to the customer about the dangers of running a generator inside a building, but the customer insisted he was fine. Jendusa, called his team leader, Paula Fails to report the situation. She encouraged him to call the Milwaukee Fire Department. Once the police arrived it was discovered that CO levels in the home were at 180 ppm. The officers removed the man and he was taken to the hospital to be treated for CO poisoning.
- Kent Schultz, utility employee 1 – customer operations | We Energies
Schultz arrived at a home to work on a gas meter to find a man lying on the ground unconscious and bleeding. The man had been working under a truck when the jack failed, causing serious injury. Schultz called 911 and called to the man until he regained consciousness. Schultz stayed with the man until emergency personnel arrived. Upon their arrival, Schultz helped block traffic for the emergency helicopter lift.
- Tevi Lawson, engineer | Omaha Public Power District
Lawson was in the field designing a rebuild of an existing three phase overhead line when he noticed a fire in the rear of a nearby house. He called 911 as he ran to the home and began knocking feverishly to get the family to safety.
- Steve Anderson, caulker/tapper | Superior Water Light & Power
Steve used his CPR/first aid training, required by SWL&P, to save a life. He was at a restaurant when he heard someone call out “he’s choking, he’s choking”. Without hesitation, Steve made his way across the dining room, assessed the situation and offered to help. He began the Heimlich maneuver just as the man appeared to be losing consciousness. After two attempts the man collapsed. Steve lowered the man to the floor, checked for breathing, detected none and began chest compressions. At the eighth compression, Steve heard the man begin to breathe. The EMS service cleared the man to go home.
- Brad Buttweiler and Todd Smukowski, fitter | We Energies
Brad and Todd responded to a grade 1 call. Todd found high levels of CO in the flue gas and could see that the front cover of the furnace was propped open with flames rolling out of it. He shut the gas off immediately. The team discovered gas levels >100 PPM. They noticed a light on in the kitchen and decided to call the fire department in case someone was unconscious inside. The home was well secured, a pry bar was used to open the kitchen window to help ventilate the air. The firefighters arrived and found a man unconscious on the floor, he did regain consciousness. Brad and Todd took the additional step of calling to have the electric turned off due to the unsafe condition of the furnace and to secure the property.
- Roger Canady, CDL driver/mechanic; John Baxley, Foreman; and Loran Swinton, CDL driver | Distribution Construction Co.
One morning DCC employee Bill Nash told fellow employees about some persistent and severe heartburn he was experiencing. Roger recalled from DCC’s First Aid/CPR/AED training that “if a symptom such as heartburn seems worse or different than usual you might need to seek emergency help immediately.” He offered to take Bill to the emergency room but was refused. Bill then fell to the floor and hit his head which caught the attention of other employees. John called 911 and took charge by managing events until EMS arrived. Loran checked Bill’s vital signs and described them to John who was on the phone. Bill was not breathing but had a pulse so Loran began rescue breathing. After Bill’s pulse stopped Loran switched to CPR. The EMS arrived and with the help of an automated external defibrillator and medication they resuscitated Bill. Unfortunately, Bill later passed away in hospital but the efforts of the three men played a critical life-sustaining role in attempting to save Bill’s life.
- Bob Fonger, C&M sub-foreman; Gerry Olson, Lead Meter Large Power Tech, & Tom Brown, meter reader | Superior Water Light & Power
The three men assisted a retiree who began choking at the SWL&P Credit Union’s Annual Meeting. During dinner the retiree said he couldn’t breathe. Tom yelled that someone needed help and Gerry, being closest tried performing the Heimlich maneuver. Tom and Bob also took turns but could not get the man’s breathing re-started. They began doing CPR when the man lost his pulse. The men eventually dislodged a piece of meat from the retiree’s throat and he began to breathe on his own. Sherry Thomas, Administrative Assistant; NorthWestern Energy Sherry and her neighbor were having dinner and she noticed he could not catch his breath; she calmly began the Heimlich maneuver. The gentleman could not talk and his skin color was changing. Sherry performed the maneuver three times and the blockage came out, saving this person’s life. Sherry attributes her calmness and ability to perform the Heimlich to her safety training at NorthWestern Energy.
- Anne Warner, analyst business/configurer | NorthWestern Energy
On the evening of October 5, 2011, Anne was home with her 8 year-old son. Her son accidently swallowed a whole grape, which immediately plugged his air passage and he could not breathe or talk. Anne had attended the CPR classes offered by NorthWestern Energy whenever they were offered and instinctively knew just what to do. Anne jumped into action and began using the Heimlich maneuver. After one thrust the grape dislodged and flew out of his mouth saving his life.
- Curt Olson, working lead gas | Montana Dakota Utilities
On December 27, 2010 Curt was driving home with his family when they came upon a vehicle on its side. He stopped to help the driver who mentioned that his mom was still in the car. The car was half-filled with compact snow. Olson crawled into the car by a back window and started digging the snow by hand. He managed to clear the 90 year old woman out of the snow and miraculously she was still breathing. Olson stayed with her until the Fire Department extracted her from the car.
- Robert Lane Parks, service tech III | CenterPoint Energy
Lane Parks was on his way home from work when he came upon what he believed to be an abandoned burning home. He called 911 and decided to wait until the Fire Department arrived. While waiting he observed a woman trying to escape the fire through a window. Parks ran to help the woman, pulling her out of the fire, he called for an ambulance and administered first aid to the burn victim until ambulance personnel arrived.
- Sue Dallavalle, seasonal meter reader | We Energies
Sue was taking a meter read when she heard a horrendous noise. In the distance she saw two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) speeding toward her. As they got closer two of the men began frantically waving at her. They drove up to her truck and yelled to her to call 911. They had been out bird hunting, and one of the hunters had accidentally shot one of his companions. Dallavalle was able to get through to 911. She then assisted the wounded man to the ground. She grabbed a roll of paper towels from her truck and wrapped several layers of towels around her hand so she could apply pressure to the open wound. She kept talking to the victim to keep him from slipping into unconsciousness. A former nurse’s aide, she used her knowledge to look for signs of shock. She assisted the man for 45 minutes until emergency medical personnel arrived. After the man was taken to the hospital Dallavalle continued her route.
- Melford J. Jackso, Sr. construction tech III | CenterPoint Energy
Melford was on his way to an odorant check when he saw a truck crashed into a utility pole. Investigating the vehicle he found a man inside. The man was banging his head back and forth between the steering wheel and rear truck window. Jackson opened the passenger door to ask if he was alright. The eyes looking back at him were vacant. He just kept rocking. Jackson called 911. It took four people to get the man out of the truck and under control before paramedics could work on him. It was determined that he was having a diabetic seizure. The paramedics gave the man an insulin shot and informed Jackson that the victim’s sugar count was so elevated that without the shot he would have died in only a few more moments.
- Jeff Steinert and Kevin Schweizer | We Energies
A forestry crew, made up of Jeff Steinert and Kevin Schweizer, was working when they heard calls for help coming from inside a home. They entered the home and found an elderly customer slouched in his chair with an oxygen mask attached to him and a portable tank. His wife told them that the oxygen had run out and she could not disconnect the portable tank. The crew was successful in disconnecting the portable tank and moved the elderly customer closer to the stationary tank to connect the tubing. The customer was able to resume breathing on his own and was stable when the crew departed.
- Sue Dallavalle, seasonal meter reader | We Energies
Sue Dallavalle was taking a meter read when she heard a horrendous noise. In the distance she saw two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) speeding toward her. As they got closer two of the men began frantically waving at her. They drove up to her truck and yelled to her to call 911. They had been out bird hunting, and one of the hunters had accidentally shot one of his companions. Dallavalle was able to get through to 911. She then assisted the wounded man to the ground. She grabbed a roll of paper towels from her truck and wrapped several layers of towel around her hand so she could apply pressure to the open wound. She kept talking to the victim to keep him from slipping into unconsciousness. A former nurse’s aide, she used her knowledge to look for signs of shock. She assisted the man for 45 minutes until emergency medical personnel arrived. After the man was taken to hospital Dallavalle continued her route.
- Ray C. Lynn, superintendent technician | Omaha Public Power District
Ray Lynn performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking friend. He managed to dislodge the object and save the friend. Ray thanks the Red Cross and OPPD for the training that provides him with the ability to react to this type of life threatening situation.
- Michael R. Boutcher, underground maintenance & construction supervisor | ComEd
Michael Boutcher noticed a hit-and-run accident involving a female motorcyclist on his way home on March 22, 2010. He positioned his vehicle with beacon flashing to secure the scene. Mike tended to the victim’s shock symptoms and applied bandages to her head injuries. He cared for her until the ambulance arrived.
- Kevin Miller, overhead electrician & Jeff Koubek, overhead electrician | ComEd
Kevin Miller and Jeff Koubeck where returning to the office when they came upon a vehicle which was forced off the road and was now submerged in water. They called 911 and created a save zone within which a rescue could be executed from the shoulder of the road. A police officer arrived and together they planned a rescue, knowing that it would take too long for emergency personnel to arrive. Miller and Koubek used the bucket from their utility line-truck for the rescue. They were able to get the bucket to reach the car and rescued the stranded occupants from the submerged car roof top, one at a time.
- Joe Avery, meter reader | ComEd
Joe Avery found a woman lying on the side of the roadway. He stopped his vehicle and went to the victim who said she was a victim of a hit-and-run. Avery contacted 911 and retrieved his CPR and first-aid kit staying close to the victim. Avery called his supervisor to report the incident. While waiting for the EMTs the woman stopped breathing. Avery and another passerby administered CPR using the ComEd kit to resuscitate the woman. Avery stayed until EMTs arrived. He was later informed that the woman was left with a broken back and 2 broken legs, along with other injures.
- Daniel Davies, line mechanic | We Energies
While having dinner with his family at Mama Mia’s Restaurant in Wales, WI a waitress entered the dining area and asked if anyone had CPR/First Aid training and was willing to assist. Dan informed the waitress that he did have training through We Energies and was willing to assist. The waitress led Dan to another dining area where he found an unconscious older gentleman. Dan could not find a pulse and determined that the gentleman was not breathing. There was no one else there to assist Dan. Dan had the waitress call 911 and he began CPR. Dan performed CPR approximately 10 minutes before paramedics arrived. The gentleman did have a heart attack and survived thanks in part to Dan’s quick action.
- Chris Howatt, heavy equipment operator | NIPSCO (NiSource, Inc.)
Just a few weeks after receiving CPR training Chris Howatt used the updated training to help keep a motorist alive. Howatt was directing traffic around a worksite when he noticed an apparently unconscious driver’s car slowly rolling through the intersection and off the road. Howatt called 911 and once the car was stopped. Howatt and another passer-by, a nurse, performed CPR. The victim started breathing again as a result of the action.
- Mark Slezak - Gas | ComEd
Mark Slezak was attending a meeting when he discovered a man choking on a piece of pizza. Mark told another co-worker to call 911. Mark performed the Heimlich maneuver 5-6 times to try to dislodge the food with no luck. Eventually the food dislodged and the man began breathing again.
- Frank Naples & Kevin Garrity - Gas | ComEd
Material handlers Frank Naples and Kevin Garrity saved the life of an elderly man on Friday July 11, 2008 by quickly assessing and taking control of a dire situation. Both handlers were on their lunch break when they heard someone shout to call 911. Frank and Kevin both went over to see what was going on and discovered an unconscious man. They immediately utilized their CPR training by assessing the situation and performing CPR, having to revive the man twice over 4-5 minute period until the paramedics arrived.
- Sam Stay - Gas | CenterPoint Energy Minnesota
Sam Stay was dispatched to investigate a carbon monoxide alarm at a townhouse complex. In the first home he found 10 ppm CO. Checking the attached garage, Sam found CO levels at 300 ppm, but no apparent source. Sam persisted, checking neighboring garages within the same 8-plex. He soon discovered 9999 ppm of CO in a garage and 2500 ppm around the front door of the unit. Sam alerted the fire department who found two female occupants. They were treated for exposure to CO and transported to a hospital. Sam was able to identify the source of the alarm.
After a short, but persistent investigation, following prescribed emergency response protocol, Sam Stay was responsible for saving the lives of two women. Sam was recognized by the City of Apple Valley, MN and the Apple Valley Fire Department for his life saving efforts and received the cities Certificate of Commendation.
The Waukesha Battalion Fire Chief credits Ulrich and Michael with saving 30 lives.
- Max Smelser - Electric | Omaha Public Power District
A man fell near OPPD headquarter, convulsing and in need of serious help. Max immediately started assisting the man, clearing his windpipe and began CPR. He called for help and gave direction to those standing nearby. Without his logical thinking the afflicted man may have sat unattended for a period of time. Due to HIPA laws, Max may never learn how the man is doing.
- Scott Shaffer, Darren Kennett, and Justin Stanke – Electric | We Energies
Scott, Darren, and Justin were working on upgrading a 34 kV electric line when they noticed smoke coming out of a nearby garage. After investigating, Scott noticed that the garage was on fire. He called 911 and went to evacuate the residents from the homes. After securing the families he noticed a large LP tank near the burning building. He immediately turned off the gas. Realizing that there was a primary wire in the vicinity of the fire, Scott and his crew de-energized the line. The fire department appreciated this effort as it eliminated a hazard. After the firefighters were done Scott stopped to talk to the customer. Discovering that the customer needed temporary electric service to power a water pump associated with the care of cattle.
Scott worked with the customer’s electrician to restore power. Scott and his crew went above and beyond in protecting the customer, the firefighters, and in providing excellent customer service.
- Jim Conley & Doug Fredericks - Electric | MidAmerican Energy Company
December 20 , 2006 Jim & Doug were on the road after a safety meeting when they saw a semi in a corn field and a pickup facing the wrong direction in the east ditch of Highway N-65. The pickup was on fire. Jim and Doug discovered an unconscious girl in the passenger seat. They quickly used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. They were unsuccessful so pulled her out of the window as flames spread into the cab. Seconds later the fire reached the fuel tank and engulfed the entire truck. They began CPR. They continued their life saving efforts until help arrived.
- George Woodard - Electric | Alliant Energy
On February 13th of this year George was dispatched to a fire in downtown Mt. Vernon, IA to disconnect the power. When he arrived at the fire he rescued 2 people from the burning building by raising his bucket truck up to them.
- Dallas C. Wilson, Gerald P. Stanley, Richard W. Costello, and Timothy L. Mixan.- Gas | Metropolitan Utilities District
The crew was working at a water relocation project when Richard (Dick) saw Ray Weinacht, a contractor’s worker, slumped over a piece of equipment. Dick and another contract worker removed him from the equipment. Tim called 911 and relayed Ray’s condition and requested assistance. Jerry monitored the man’s pulse and breathing. When his pulse stopped, Jerry began chest compressions. Dallas began CPR and he and Jerry continued for 10 minutes until the emergency personnel were able to attach a defibrillator. Ray is recovering well.
They each received the distinguished service award from the M.U.D. Board of Directors, they are only the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th employees to receive the District’s award since the program was implemented in 1978.
- Tom Holmstrom - Electric | NorthWestern Energy
Tom Holmstrom was watching his three year-old twins at a pool when he saw a child’s limp body being lifted from the pool. Tom was the only person in the busy pool area that knew CPR, and he immediately started CPR on the lifeless 2 year-old. By the time the ambulance arrived, the boy’s heart was beating again, he had coughed up water, and was breathing on his own.