Alabama Co-op Worker Saves Lives
Baldwin EMC’s Harrell Grant has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
In his 21 years at the Summerdale, Ala., electric cooperative, Grant, now a field services technician, has had three life-and-death encounters with members during routine service calls.
“I truly believe that I’m an instrument for doing what I’m supposed to do, and for being for where I’m supposed to be,” said Grant, speaking fervently about his experiences. “I try to do my job to the fullest and make a respectable name for the co-op.”
Twice, Baldwin EMC has awarded him the Touchstone Energy Power and Hope Award, which recognizes co-op employees going beyond the call of duty to help those in need.
“Harrell is the kind of employee who believes in above and beyond for our members every day,” said CEO E.A. “Bucky” Jakins Jr., during a recent awards ceremony. “It was the character and compassion that made a life-saving difference.”
The most recent honor came Oct. 8, a few weeks after Grant called 911 on behalf of an elderly woman who had fallen in her home and likely had been semi-conscious for several days.
Grant was on a routine stop at the home of a Baldwin EMC member, an elderly woman he knew, when he noticed the door was open. “Usually, as soon as I walk in, she’s hollering, ‘Hi! How are you?’ But this time, she didn’t answer.”
As he called out and listened for a response, Grant heard the sound of someone groaning in pain. “I pushed my way into the house. She couldn’t speak and she had a stare about her. I told her I was calling 911.”
He did, and stayed with the victim until paramedics arrived. But before this story ends—on a happy note—Grant twice provided crucial information to medical personnel. On a road near the victim’s out-of-the-way house, he flagged down the ambulance.
And when Grant called the hospital later that day to check on the member, he wound up forwarding personnel her contact information from member records.
“They said, ‘Thank goodness you called because she can’t talk, and we can’t get hold of her next of kin,’” said Grant.
Baldwin EMC earlier awarded Grant a Power and Hope award in 2009 after rescues resulting from routine stops that were beyond ordinary. In those incidents, Grant called 911 for a member who had started to exhibit stroke symptoms. In the other, he likely prevented another member from taking her own life.
“I think she just wanted someone to talk to,” said Grant.
Drawing on a police academy course that trained students on handling dire situations, he stayed with her for two hours and was able to convince the member to call 911 to get help. “She had lost her kids in a divorce, and I wanted her to know I was on her side.”
Grant’s experiences show that anyone can make a positive difference in somene else’s life. “I pride myself on being the face of the co-op,” he said. “Members are part of our community, they’re not just a group of shareholders. They’re our friends and neighbors, and we have to take that as a responsibility.”
To sign up for the latest Co-op Newsmakers news alerts, click here.