Baldwin EMC recently honored Right of Way Technician Wayne Kichler with the Baldwin EMC/Touchstone Energy Power and Hope award, which recognizes co-op employees for exceptional actions that provide power and hope within the cooperative network or the communities in which the employees serve.
Last year, 108 of Baldwin EMC’s 194 employees were certified in some type of first aid program, including CPR, bloodborne pathogens and automatic external defibrillator training. On Christmas Day 2017, Kichler’s training saved a life in his own family.
Kichler, along with his wife and children were enjoying a holiday lunch at his grandmother’s house when he heard a commotion. “I looked over to see everyone standing around [my daughter],” Kichler said. “I heard my mom say she was turning purple.”
Three-year-old Allison was choking on a piece of ham and was struggling to breathe. “I picked her up and my first thought was ‘you’re not dying on me today,’” he said. Kichler began performing back blows, as he had been trained to do. “It took about four or five blows, then it came up. It only took seconds but it felt like minutes,” he recalled. “Afterwards, I just held on to her so tight.”
Kichler was urged by journeyman lineman Wayne Givens, one of the employees who trained him in first aid and CPR, to share his story at the cooperative’s safety meeting in January.
Shortly after, Baldwin EMC’s Board of Trustees voted to honor Kichler with the Baldwin EMC/Touchstone Energy Power and Hope Award, which was presented to him on February 19.
“It was an honor to give Wayne this award, but the greater gift in my opinion is that little Allison is still here,” says Karen Moore, Baldwin EMC’s chief executive officer. “As a co-op, we’re so proud of Wayne and very thankful for this outcome.”
The Baldwin EMC/Touchstone Energy Power and Hope award was introduced in 2007 to honor employees who go above and beyond in an emergency. To date, 23 Baldwin EMC employees have been recognized with the award.