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Snapping Shoals workers save lives

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

COVINGTON -- Two Snapping Shoals EMC employees were recently honored for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Farron Head and Ken Ellington received Georgia EMC's Life Saving Award, which recognizes EMC employees whose courage and skillful actions are instrumental in rescuing someone from grave and immediate danger.

Head's moment of heroism came on a cold February morning when the underground crew foreman noticed a house engulfed in flames. He called 911 then exited his vehicle to make sure no one was trapped in the house.

He found a homeowner who was worried about leaving her pets. The woman kept re-entering the home to retrieve her animals, and Head assisted her and placed them in his vehicle.

"While all this was going on, the woman kept saying her chest hurt, so I finally insisted that she sit in my truck with the heat on. I waited with her until paramedics arrived. I thought she was suffering from some smoke inhalation, but it turns out she was having a mild heart attack," Head said.

The house was ultimately destroyed, but the woman and her animals were saved.

"Anybody at Snapping Shoals would do the same thing," said Head, a 30-year employee. "We receive a lot of safety and first-aid training. It is instilled in us to respond and help in emergency situations, no matter where we are or what the emergency might be."

Ellington, who has been with Snapping Shoals for six years, received the Life Saving Award for helping a lost toddler he found wandering in the road. While on his way to perform an energy audit for an EMC member, Ellington noticed something in the middle of the road about 2 miles from the EMC's main office in Covington. He slowed down, and as he got closer, realized it was a small child. He pulled over, got the girl to safety and called 911.

The girl told him she was looking for her mother, who had gone to town.

"I couldn't believe she was just there in the middle of the road," Ellington said. "Worse yet, there is a lake on the other side of the road, so she could have fallen in there without anyone noticing."

The girl pointed in the direction she lived, and Ellington searched for a parent, without any luck. The responding police officer drove the child up and down area streets until she was able to point out her house. Her father didn't know she had wandered away; he thought she was napping with her brother.

"I was just thankful I was in the right place at the right time," Ellington said. "When it was all over, it made me think it could have been my kid."

SSEMC management credits the quick and composed reactions of Head and Ellington with saving lives.

"We train our employees in safety and first-aid techniques so they can be equipped at any time, in any situation that might call for emergency response. It's an integral part of our overall safety program, because we want to prepare employees to take the proper action, even if the emergency is not work related," said Guy Williams, loss control director for Snapping Shoals.

Head and Ellington were honored at the Georgia EMC annual meeting earlier this month, along with 13 employees from six other EMCs.