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PUD Establishes “Heroes Award” – First Two Recipients Honored
Clallam County PUD Commissioners passed a resolution establishing a PUD “Heroes Program” at its November 21st Commission meeting.
The resolution establishing the program states that, “Throughout the history of the PUD there has been occasions where a PUD employee has acted meritoriously, above and beyond the normal course of duty; and, the District wishes to have a permanent program to recognize these efforts so they may be celebrated with public recognition.”
After the resolution was unanimously passed, the first two recipients of the award were honored. Joe Helvey, a Journeyman Lineman, and Sam Parks, a Line Foreman, received recognition for their individual acts of “heroism” this past year. All three of the Commissioners individually expressed their pride and gratitude for the efforts of Joe and Sam.
Their stories follow:
On the morning of April 27, 2016, Clallam County PUD Journeyman Lineman Joe Helvey was about to drive across a recently completed bridge in Port Angeles that spans approximately 200 feet and sits 100 feet above the roadway below. There have been at least two individuals jump to their deaths and several other attempts since the bridge was opened months earlier.
As Joe was driving across the bridge he noticed a young woman starting to climb over the railing. His reaction was to slam on the brakes and quickly was running towards the woman. As he reached the woman he could hear other cars screeching to a halt. By now the woman was over the rail and just hanging on but ready to let go. Joe reached out and grabbed her wrist and pulled with all that he had. As she was brought to the sidewalk, others were there to console and hold her. The local law enforcement soon arrived and took control.
Joe gathered himself and walked away quietly back to his vehicle. After arriving at his worksite he spoke of the incident and what had happened.
On the evening of August 29, 2016, at approximately 6:30 pm one of Clallam County PUD’s employees suffered a medical event that caused him to lose consciousness while driving home. As he crossed into oncoming traffic, he just missed one vehicle and drove into a small ditch along the road, ran through a field fence, and stopped in front of another fence.
It just so happened that Clallam County PUD Line Foreman Sam Parks was on his way home with his grandson. He was two cars behind and noticed what had happened and stopped to render help. As he approached the wrecked vehicle he recognized the PUD employee. He automatically went into action along with others that soon arrived. The doors were locked so the windows were broken in order to get to the fellow employee. Sam did a quick check and found no heartbeat at which point he started CPR.
In an internal interview with Sam he stated that he reacted instinctively. Two quick breaths and then the compressions. Medical aid arrived and between the two they worked on him. When the aid left for a defibrillator, Sam worked on the victim by himself. Sam and coworkers had just gone through the annual CPR/AED training as required by the District three weeks earlier.
Our employee survived and said that he owes his life to his co-worker.
Commissioners and staff thank all PUD employees for their service to the community.