By Travis Henry
For Huskie Tools
Linemen put their life on the line routinely. They brave storms, run towards danger and their profession is annually in the top 10 for the nation’s most dangerous jobs.
While there are hundreds of stories of linemen performing heroic deeds, here are five anecdotes that captured the essence of what being a linemen means.
5. Lineman Saves Two In Flash Flood
LaFollette Utilities third-year apprentice Dayne Deavours was driving down a LaFolette, Tennessee country road in June 2019, working to restore power because of a storm-related outage. He noticed a ditch had turned into a "raging river" and saw a man standing on the roof of a car that was about to be consumed by the water.
Deavours, and another passerby named Clyde, pulled the man out with a handline and then saved the man's friend who had been swept downstream.
According to WATE.com, "Deavours wanted to thank Clyde for helping with the rescue, but didn’t get Clyde’s last name."
4. The Kiss Of Life
Probably one the best known on-the-job lineman rescues happened on July 17, 1967, when J.D. Thompson administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on his colleague Randall Champion after Champion was electrocuted. Both men were performing routine maintenance on power lines when Champion brushed a live line.
Thompson quickly reached Champion, gave him mouth-to-mouth, before lowering him to the ground and performing CPR with another colleague before paramedics arrived. Champion would make a full recovery.
The rescue was noted around the world as Jacksonville Journal newspaper photographer Rocco Morabito was driving by and captured the rescue with his camera. Morabito would end winning the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.
3. Rescue Training Exercise Turned Into Real Life Emergency
Last year, Huskie Tools was proud to give The Huskie Tough Team award to a team from Shelby Electric Cooperative after the team worked together to save a fellow lineman's life. The lineman had just completed “hurt man” rescue training and was on his way down when he suffered cardiac arrest 22 feet above the ground.
The team sprang into action with everyone performing a duty including calling 911, performing CPR, grabbing an AED and directing emergency personnel.
"It was a well-oiled team working together as one to literally save the life of one of their own," according to Shelby Electric Cooperative lineman Kevin Bernson.
Stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for info on this year's Huskie Tough Team Contest.
2. Lineman Saves Man Using CPR
In June 2016, 35-year-old Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) lineman Nicholas Reckmeyer was driving with his family in Springfield, Virginia, when he saw a 29-year-old unresponsive man on the side of the road being held by a woman. He immediately pulled over, found the man in cardiac arrest, called 911 and jumped into action using CPR skills he had learned as part of his job, according to a NOVEC news release.
“As I was walking back to the van I saw the man sitting up on the stretcher in the ambulance,” Reckmeyer said. “A paramedic and police officer stopped me and said the man was alive because of my quick action in a stressful situation.”
According to Novec, "Reckmeyer almost drowned in a backyard swimming pool when he was two years old. A neighbor performed CPR on him and saved his life."
Reckmeyer said, “Now it was my turn to use CPR to save a life.”
1. Lineman Saves Two Girls in Bronx River
In 1927, the New York Times featured on their front page an article about 24-year-old Henry Glinsmann, a lineman employed by the New York Edison Company. Glinsmann, who told reporters he wasn't much of a swimmer, saved two little girls from drowning in the Bronx River.
According to the article, when Glinnsman jumped into the water and saved the two 14-year-old girls "he had on spurs weighing five pounds each which linemen use to climb telegraph poles, and also a girdle about his waist with tools hanging from it."
Glinnsman saved the first girl when he caught a glimpse of her head rising about the water and dove back in and went downstream when he learned there was a second child in distress.
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