Keith Kull is a 13-year meter servicer who works out of the Belmont Service Center in St. Clairsville. On the afternoon of January 31 he had completed some routine work and was headed back on U.S. Route 250.
It was a normal day, “nothing out of the ordinary,” Kull says. But it was also a treacherous one: Freezing rain had fallen and the roads were icy and slick.
Rounding a bend not far from the small community of Georgetown, Kull spotted a car that had slid off the road and into the creek flowing alongside the highway. As he drew closer Kull noticed something else: the hand of an elderly woman waving for help on the bank of the creek. Kull honked in recognition, performed a U-turn at the next safe opportunity and quickly returned to assist her.
The car had skidded off the road in the poor conditions, hitting a tree and scraping all nearby vegetation off the hillside. Unable to pull herself to safety, the woman had waded some 25 to 30 feet downstream – waist deep in the frigid waters – until she could find a tree to hoist herself out. When Kull returned to the scene the woman was on her hands and knees in the grass, exhausted and chilled to the bone. “I’m glad you’re here,” she said. “I’m so cold I can’t move anymore.”
The woman was unable to get to her feet. So Kull helped her up and took her to his vehicle to get her warmed up. He tried calling 911 but had no cell phone service because of the rural location.
Considering his options, Kull learned that the woman’s brother lived only a few miles away in Cadiz. So Kull immediately took her there to change out of her wet clothes and for him to call both the authorities and his supervisor.
“She was a pretty tough lady. She would have survived if I didn’t find her but she would have been awful sick from the wetness,” Kull says.
According to Meter Revenue Operations Supervisor Steve Minyard, Kull did a great job of performing the CAT safety technique (Change Awareness and Tracking) that’s taught to AEP employees: scan ahead while driving, avoid distractions and be prepared when situations change unexpectedly.
“I’m really proud of Keith. He did a great job in stopping to help the woman and making sure to quickly get her to a safe environment,” Minyard says.
Meter servicers across the Newark and Zanesville areas regularly get together to share any new experiences on the job. It’s a great way to expand their knowledge and learn about new ways to approach problems. At a recent team meeting, Kull was armed with quite a doozy.
“Every morning they want to know if we saw anything out of the ordinary. So Steve says to me, ‘Tell them your story.’ ” Kull says. “Yeah, they were all pretty blown away.”
Published February 26, 2020