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Powerful Living Going


above & beyond the call of duty


From left to right: Francisco Rodriguez, B.J. Appleton, Kyle Osborn, Kyle Weber and Eric Brown. By JuliAnn Graham, CCC O


n a bitterly cold day in early Decem- ber 2015, Tri-County Electric Cooper- ative (TCEC) Electrician Eric Brown and Electrician’s Assistant Francisco


Rodriguez were driving along the street in Guy- mon, Okla., when they noticed a small boy. He was alone and not clothed for the weather. Brown and Rodriguez stopped and tried to communicate with him, asking his name and where his parents were. The boy, less than 2 years old, pointed but wasn’t able to talk yet. They wrapped the boy in a jacket and went knocking door-to-door trying to fi nd his parents. Not fi nd- ing anyone to identify the boy, they called au- thorities who helped reunite him with his family. The boy was unharmed thanks to the quick thinking of Brown and Rodriguez. Every day, TCEC linemen face dangers on the


job. They’re trained in basic fi rst aid and CPR, which they hope never to use. That training came in handy for three TCEC linemen on Sept. 29, 2015. Kyle Weber, Kyle Osborn, and B.J. Appleton,


TCEC line crew employees, were some of the fi rst on the scene of an accident between a semi and a pickup where the pickup was on fi re with the driver still inside. The accident happened south of Turpin, Okla., on U.S. Highway 83. They provided fi rst aid to the driver and used more than seven fi re extinguishers to put out the fi re. They stopped additional vehicles driving by to get more fi re extinguishers because the diesel fuel kept igniting. The pickup driver was taken alive to the hospital but did not survive his injuries. The crew received a thank you note from the


Turpin Fire Department for their actions. Chief Gary Riffe said, “They were instrumental in put- ting out the fi re before any fi re department ar- rived ... The help provided by these individuals was just awesome.” These five TCEC employees were recently


6


honored with the Touchstone Energy® Power & Hope Award. They were recognized locally and at the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Safety Awards banquet in April. “These fi ve men went above and beyond the call of duty when they stopped to help in ex- treme circumstances,” said TCEC Chief Operating Offi cer Zac Perkins. “Our employees care about the people in the communities they serve. They don’t feel it’s out of the ordinary to stop to help.” This is not unusual for TCEC employees, who are observant of their surroundings at all times for safety reasons. In December 2012, TCEC service technician Trey Long was honored with the Power & Hope Award for his assistance to a member who had fallen in her yard. He saw her waving her arm for help and stopped. Margory Farrell of Guymon had been lying in her yard, helpless, for about 45 minutes. Long realized she was injured and called an ambulance for help. He covered her with his coat and waited with her for the ambulance.


“I have absolutely cried when I think about what that young man did for me,” Farrell said at the time. “He stayed with me, he held my hand, and he covered me up. He said he wasn’t leaving until the ambulance arrived. I cannot be grateful enough to him. He was such a wonderful role model for your company. He did everything and he did it right. We should be very proud to have people of his caliber in our neighborhood and among our friends.”


But the story doesn’t end there.


Farrell spent two weeks in the hospital and six weeks in rehab at a nursing home before return- ing home. When she could, she called TCEC to express her gratitude and appreciation for Long’s assistance. Not only did Long get help for Farrell, but later he, his wife Janet and their two young children, Rance and Laramie, took a fl ower bou- quet and visited Farrell in the hospital where she was recovering. Another employee, TCEC Metering Supervisor


Ruben Sanchez was honored with the Power & Hope Award after helping a member who had fallen in a snowbank in February of 2013. On the morning of February 28, Jean Voyles stepped on a snow bank as she left the house to go to work. She slipped and fell forward, injuring her arms and knees. She lay outside in the snow and frigid air in her yard, which sits on U.S. Highway 412 just outside city limits of Hardesty, Okla. Cars whizzed by for nearly 40 minutes be- fore Sanchez stopped to help. “Ruben (Sanchez) stopped and called the am- bulance,” Voyles said at the time. “He stayed right with me until the Hooker ambulance ar- rived. He covered me with blankets from my home to keep me warm and encouraged me not to move. It was really appreciated.” Voyles later discovered she had broken her right arm in three places and dislocated her left shoulder. She also hurt her knees, which she said were bad to start with. She was unable to return to work for more than two months after the fall. Sanchez said his safety training helped him respond appropriately to the situation. “From our fi rst aid training, I knew it would be better not to move her,” Sanchez said. “When I drove by I noticed stuff lying all around her. I thought I better check up on her and make sure she was okay. I called the ambulance then I asked if she had some pillows and blankets to try to keep her warm.” Perkins notes these employees are humble and weren’t looking for recognition when they stopped to help. “Our employees were simply looking to do the right thing in these situations,” he said. “They were following the golden rule and helping out because they would hope someone to do the same for them or their families.”


JuliAnn Graham, a regular Oklahoma Living con- tributor, is the communications supervisor at TCEC.


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