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Community Employee Spotlight February 23, 2022

Snowy day heroics

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Snowy day heroics

When PUD Major Yard Equipment Operators Tommy O. and Bill G. headed out a snowy, rainy day this past January, their mission was to rescue PUD trucks stuck in snow and slush in the Index area, so that PUD line workers could continue to restore power to customers. They never imagined that their most important rescue of the day would be for a woman in trouble.

“We had just finished getting the one-ton crew truck unstuck when we saw a woman pull up to the Index River Tracks in a Buick LeSabre,” said Bill. The woman made a failed attempt to make it up the hill, backsliding until she returned to where she had started. After another failed attempt at the hill in her vehicle, they offered the woman a ride to the top of the hill so she could deliver a gas can to her son. When they reached the top, the woman jumped out and started walking. She started to fall down in knee-deep snow and began crawling in freezing slush.

At that point they knew she needed to be rescued. Tommy grabbed a shovel to steady himself and began walking toward her. She had lost her boots and socks and was thoroughly soaked. He ended up dragging her out while she hung onto his back.

“When we got her back to the truck, she’s soaking wet and numb,” said Bill. “We have paper towels, but we know that she needs to get on dry clothes if she’s ever going to get warm.” They drove her back to her vehicle where she changed and warmed her feet up on the defrost vent until feeling returned to her extremities and she was safe to drive herself back to the motel where she was staying.

“The PUD serves the public – we get the power back on and we help people,” said Bill. “It’s great to now have a culture that is focused on safety, and where we know we’ll be supported for taking the time to do what is right.”

Tommy and Bill were awarded the PUD General Manager’s Life Saving Award for their heroic efforts in helping someone in great need.