Electric cooperative member services representatives are regularly relied upon to quickly solve problems, handle complaints and make other on-the-fly decisions.
In the case of JCE Co-op’s Jamie Twombly, they can also be lifesavers.
Last fall, the lead member care representative for the Elizabeth, Illinois, co-op was taking a payment over the phone from a member when she noticed he suddenly seemed incoherent and was slurring his words.
“When I asked for his account number, he would go from numbers to letters,” said Twombly. Even though she was eventually able to process the payment, “I could just tell something was off and I felt uneasy,” she said.
Twombly pulled aside Member Care Manager Sue Glick, and they located the member after a quick check of the co-op’s backlog of recorded calls. “Once we pulled a prior call and listened to it, we knew right away that something didn’t sound right,” Twombly said.
She immediately called 911 and asked if emergency responders could conduct a wellness check at the member’s home.
The co-op was relieved to later learn that the member survived after receiving emergency care at a local hospital.
While there’s no shortage of stories of lineworkers going above and beyond the call of duty when they encounter emergencies while out on the job, member care representatives can also be well-positioned to save the day.
“I suspect there are many heroic stories, specifically in member services, where they take and make hundreds of calls a day,” said JCE President and CEO Mike Casper.
“You get beat up a lot,” said Glick of the occasional fraught situations confronting MSRs. “Jamie did the right thing. This was one of those feel-good moments when she listened to her instincts and took five minutes out of her day to make a big difference in someone’s life.”
Victoria A. Rocha is a staff writer for NRECA.