Two electric cooperative employees are being recognized for their life-saving efforts, one on an Indiana highway and another during a family picnic in Georgia.
Snapping Shoals EMC’s Cindy Gasque was recently honored with a 2022 Lifesaving Award from Georgia EMC. At a Father’s Day barbecue at her home near Rutledge, Gasque saved her own dad’s life after he went into anaphylactic shock from a wasp sting.
Garland Worley, 80, was sitting on a bench watching his grandchildren swim when a wasp stung him on the leg. “We didn’t know it at the time, but there was a wasp nest under the bench. He had been stung a thousand times in his life, and he’s never had a reaction,” said Gasque, a member care representative at the Covington-based co-op.
But Worley soon began to feel sick, and Gasque gave him Benadryl. When his condition worsened, she called 911. She followed the 911 operator’s instructions until paramedics arrived 15 minutes later, dispatching family members to loosen Worley’s clothing and apply packages of frozen vegetables to his body to keep him cool.
“His face was gray, he was sweating, and his throat was closing up. He couldn’t breathe,” said Gasque. “I was waiting to do CPR; he was that bad. It just went downhill super fast.”
Shortly after paramedics arrived, Worley lost consciousness, and they administered artificial ventilation. Worley was admitted to Morgan Medical Center in Madison and released the next day.
“Once my dad was alert, the doctor asked, ‘Who called 911?’ And my dad pointed to me,” said Gasque. “The doctor said, ‘You need to thank her because she saved your life. You didn’t have any time to spare. You didn’t just have a reaction, you had a severe reaction.’”
‘There Was No Other Choice’
In Indiana, Clark County REMC’s Jared Massengale jumped into action when he saw a woman walking alone in the middle of Highway 3 in Otisco on Oct 17. The staking engineer was driving back to the Sellersburg-based co-op when he saw the woman, dressed in flannel pajama pants and a jacket, “veering out towards the middle of the lane.”
Massengale pulled over in his co-op truck, asked the woman if she needed help and offered her a ride, which she accepted. He then called 911.
“After she gave me an indication she wasn’t 100% sure where she was, there was no other choice than for me to act. She didn’t know where she was, and she had no identification on her.”
Two deputies from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call. Massengale stayed at the scene while they questioned the woman. When the deputies couldn’t determine her residence, they were able to find someone she knew to pick her up, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.
Clark County REMC CEO Jason Clemmons praised Massengale. “We are quite proud of Jared and his decision to stop and help. His actions truly embody what the cooperative principles represent, and he demonstrated how the electric cooperatives’ concern for community sets us apart.”
Victoria A. Rocha is a staff writer for NRECA.