Pennsylvania Lineman Goes Beyond the Call of Duty to Help Stop a Runaway Horse

Adams Electric Cooperative’s Cecil Knotts has a passion for motorcycles, but when Zip needed his help, Knotts became a horse whisperer. (Photo By: Elizabeth Anglada)
Adams Electric Cooperative’s Cecil Knotts has a passion for motorcycles, but when Zip needed his help, Knotts became a horse whisperer. (Photo By: Elizabeth Anglada)

The lineman jumped from his co-op service truck, ran to the rescue, and hollered “whoa!”

Adams Electric Cooperative line service worker Cecil Knotts had been sitting in his truck wrapping up paperwork on a service inspection when he saw a riderless horse gallop by with a mounted trail rider in hot pursuit.

“I yelled out the truck window ‘Is everything OK?’” Knotts recalled. “She said ‘no, runaway horse and he threw his rider!’”

So, on a windy late October afternoon, Knotts quickly wrangled his way into position to save the day.

“Cecil was like a superhero,” said Lynn “Beauty” Browne, of New Park, Pennsylvania. Browne’s gelding, Zip, had thrown her after getting tangled in cabling on a wooded trail in Pennsylvania’s York County.

When a still-mounted Ginny Gibble caught up with the spooked horse, Knotts quickly followed behind on foot.

“He rushed in to help us,” said Browne. “He stayed with us, helped calm our horse, offered us his company first-aid kit so we could bandage Zip’s leg. He was a rock star! Without him the situation could have gone very badly.”

Zip suffered a tear in a tendon of his left rear leg.

“I don’t know a lot about horses,” said Knotts, “But I know a leg injury is not good for one. He had a two-inch gash and you could see the bone.”

Knotts remembered seeing a co-op member’s horse farm in New Park, near where the incident occurred. He knocked on the door, and Elizabeth Anglada and her daughter, Adelaide, were happy to help.

They contacted the local veterinarian, who drove out to treat the injured animal. Knotts remained at the scene, comforting Browne and Gibble and working with the Angladas to keep the horse calm as it was examined and treated.

“Cecil was so incredible,” said Elizabeth Anglada. “We staged a triage right in my front yard. It was incredible—but a terrible way to meet some really nice people.”

Drs. William Hess and Jamie Peddy recommended that Zip be kept on stall rest during follow-up treatment for two weeks. The Angladas agreed to care for Zip and Gibble’s horse until they could safely be trailered back to their home stalls in Lancaster County.

“The vet seemed confident he could make a full recovery; stitched him up right there at the scene,” said Knotts.

“I still can’t believe Cecil stayed right with us through it all,” said Browne, who suffered only bruises and a hand injury in her fall from Zip’s back. “He was like the horse whisperer. He saved the day and likely our horse! He went above and beyond the call of duty!”

Anglada agreed, declaring Knotts “employee-of-the-year material.”

Co-workers at Gettysburg-based co-op see Knotts as an avid Harley Davidson rider who cares about people, so they weren’t surprised to hear that he hung around to help until he was sure the horse and everyone involved was OK.

“Cecil has a big heart,” said Steve Rasmussen, CEO and general manager of Adams EC. “He was willing to put himself at risk without hesitation. That’s really admirable and deserves to be commended.”

Rasmussen added that such incidents remind consumer-members like the Angladas that electric co-ops do more than just keep the lights on—they are true partners to the communities they serve.

“I truly believe our line personnel live the Cooperative Principle of Concern for Community,” said Rasmussen. “They’re dedicated folks who care about more than just work. They’re trained to recognize a situation and be responsive, whether that’s in an emergency or an outage.”

Derrill Holly is a staff writer at NRECA.