Baldwin EMC lineman Jerry Rider is being called a hero thanks to a quick-thinking response that saved the life of Spanish Fort resident Jack Gipson.
In recognition of his heroic deed, Rider was presented the Baldwin EMC/Touchstone Energy Power and Hope award on December 15. The award recognizes co-op employees for exceptional actions that provide power and hope within the cooperative network or the communities in which the employees serve. Jack Gipson, along with his wife Nancy and son Greg, were there to help present the honor.
Last May, Gipson was fishing in his boat on Tensaw Lake in Stockton, a hobby he’s frequently enjoyed since retirement.
“While fishing the north end of Tensaw Lake near Upper Bryant’s Landing, I experienced a health issue that caused me to lose consciousness,” Gipson says. “I fell, striking my head, and went overboard.”
Baldwin EMC employee Jerry Rider happened to be fishing nearby, saw the incident and quickly responded.
“I was floating face down in the lake when [Jerry] pulled me from the water and eventually got me back into my boat,” Gipson says. “We sped off back to Live Oak Fishing Camp to meet EMS, who would take me to Thomas Hospital.” Three days later, Gipson received a heart pacemaker and is doing well today, thanks to Rider’s quick actions.
It was only after the fact that Rider learned the man he saved is also the father of his coworker, Greg Gipson.
“My family and I will always be grateful to Jerry Rider for turning a near death situation into a lifesaving experience,” Gipson says.