Some of the hallmarks of public power communities throughout North Carolina include exceptional reliability, superior service, and getting your power back on quickly during storms and outages—that in and of itself is reason to be proud.
But what happens when human lives are on the line, and municipal workers are off the clock? Our hometown heroes step up, they show up, and they go above and beyond.
Earlier this year in Dallas, NC, two municipal workers leapt into action when an employee in the electric department collapsed in the hallway during what seemed to be a typical workday. Zachary (Zach) Foreman, Water Plant Supervisor and Kelly Owens, Heavy Equipment Operator at the water treatment plant didn’t miss a beat. Foreman immediately called 911 and Owens began performing exhaustive CPR. Within minutes, the Dallas police department, fire department, and rescue squad were on the scene. Among the first responders was Chris Paige, a meter reader for the electrical department. Paige also serves as a volunteer firefighter. He rode in the ambulance and performed CPR on the ride to the hospital, which was expedited because the police blocked traffic at all major intersections.
While the day ended in tragedy as the employee did not survive, her family and the Town of Dallas believe it is right to honor the heroic efforts of all of those who fought desperately to save her life that day. No one asked questions. They immediately sprang into lifesaving action and everyone worked together. And that is what public power communities do.
While checking on the electrical system after a night of severe weather, Drexel lineworkers Johnny Rowe and Cory Carpenter noticed smoke coming from a home. After immediately calling 911, Rowe and Carpenter ran up to the home and woke up the family to let them know that their house was burning down around them. As a result of their quick action, they saved four lives and a beloved family dog. Rowe and Carpenter are already hometown heroes, but the family says they are “guardian angels sent from above,” because they took extraordinary measures—they went above and beyond.
Granite Falls electric line technicians Dustin Chapman and Christian McLendon experienced a similar situation when they were on the job and noticed smoke coming from a nearby home. They followed the smoke to investigate, and immediately helped pull a man from the burning house — the man was trying to save his father, who lost his life in the fire. Along with the son, four other residents were spared, including an elderly couple and a child. Chapman and McLendon’s cooperation with firefighters and other city workers stand out during a shocking and scary situation. Without question, they both displayed heroism that day, which resulted in saving lives.
The City of Lexington’s Electric Operations Supervisor Tommy Trantham pulled up to a familiar intersection in his truck early one Sunday morning. All was quiet and peaceful until he looked up and noticed a car stalled on the railroad tracks in front of him. Both guardrails were coming down and a train was quickly approaching the intersection and the elderly woman who was inside the vehicle on the tracks. Trantham ran without hesitation and pulled the woman from her car just seconds before the locomotive destroyed the vehicle, leaving nothing but scraps of metal behind. And that, is yet another example of how a hometown hero goes above and beyond to save the life of a stranger.
For lineworkers and other municipal employees in public power communities throughout North Carolina, facing life-threatening situations is very often part of the job description—it’s what they sign up for, and that’s why we call them hometown heroes. Time and time again, these individuals continue to go above and beyond the call of duty.
On April 12 we will be honoring our lineworkers during NC Lineworker Appreciation Day. On April 18, lineworkers across the nation will be recognized during National Lineworker Appreciation Day. We invite you to join us in thanking our hometown heroes for keeping the lights on, and going above and beyond on a daily basis.