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Community October 06, 2023

A special delivery for a special customer

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A special delivery for a special customer

As a publicly owned utility, our customers are always at the forefront of what we do.

And, along with providing affordable and reliable power, being able to give back to customers is one of the best things about our work.

Recently, the PUD had a fun opportunity to do just that. A man named Nick Martin sent a letter that ended up in the hands of Torrie Oster, who works in Safety and Security at the utility. Nick mentioned that he collected patches and had over 2,000 already. It provided contact information for a reference – a police chief from Stanwood who now worked in Bellingham – who told Torrie all about Nick’s love of public service.

It turns out Nick’s patches focus on civil servants, with patches from police officers, firefighters, parks departments and others in public service.

“If we have someone out in our community who is this excited about the service people around him, we should do something cool!” Torrie immediately thought. “Reading the letter totally warmed my heart. I loved seeing someone from our community reach out and say, ‘This is what I’m passionate about and I want you to be a part of it.’ Day in and day out, he’s doing everything he does because he loves public service. He loves us, let’s love him back!”

A group of people and a squirrel mascot smile at the camera
Team PUD with Nick and his family

Torrie sprung into action. She reached out across departments – and PUD offices – to try to collect as many badges, stickers and PUD memorabilia as possible. She was quickly overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and willingness to send stuff in for Nick.

Greg Ruiz, a Foreman here at the PUD, cut big PUD patches off some of his old shirts. Vegetation Management gave a patch and some stickers. Someone even dropped off a pair of older, decommissioned insulators for Nick to have. Torrie got a hard hat and decorated it.

“Seeing the engagement throughout the whole PUD was really awesome,” Torrie said “It was a lot of departments rallying together.”

But that was just the start of the operation. Then there was the matter of delivering the PUD-themed memorabilia to Nick. Torrie talked with Nick’s father and arranged two trucks – and a few members of Team PUD – to hand-deliver the care package to Nick’s house in Stanwood.

“I talked to his dad and he told me more about Nick and we hatched the plan,” Torrie said. “We wanted to come to him so he can check the trucks out. I think it’s really cool that he’s reaching out to the community. I wanted to do more than just send him a letter back with some patches.”

In September, the PUD completed its special delivery with a host of Team PUD members heading out to visit Nick.

The group handed the patches, stickers, and other swag to Nick – who was there along with his parents and friend Jonathan. Crew members showed Nick and Jonathan around the trucks, demonstrated safety equipment and even let Nick try his hand at using a hot stick.

“I think what was really neat for me, is all Nick asked for was a patch,” Torrie said. “Just seeing how excited he was for everything. Just seeing his face when we pulled up and his excitement. It sparked something in him that can bring joy to us all!”