Ten Nicor Gas Employees Receive MEA Life Sustaining Awards

Midwest ENERGY Association

MEA is honored to present ten (10) of fourteen total Life Sustaining Awards to Nicor Gas employees. Each year MEA sponsors the Life Sustaining Awards program to recognize energy industry employees who have gone “above and beyond” the call of duty by performing an act of heroism. These ten individuals saved a co-worker through their selfless acts:


  •     Ed Abbott, field operations supervisor
  •     William Bills, distribution mechanic
  •     Tim Erickson, distribution mechanic
  •     Ernie Garcia, distribution technician
  •     Kara Kowalski, distribution mechanic
  •     James Sargent, service mechanic
  •     Steve Tamayo, distribution technician
  •     John Tomaszewski, distribution mechanic
  •     Robert Terdich, construction supervisor
  •     Dale VanderBoegh, distribution technician

Late last fall a cable contractor was digging in Nicor territory and hit a natural gas main causing a leak. Several responders and distribution crews arrived to begin the leak investigation and secure the scene. They followed all protocols, but despite their efforts, a house exploded on the property where they were working. The Nicor team were shaken but remembered to conduct a roll call to account for the 11 employees on-site. When Operations Mechanic, Tom Smith didn’t answer, they had to act fast. They worked together to determine his last known location and came upon his boots in the rubble and found him under the collapsed front porch roof. They tried to lift the roof off him and when that did not work, they began using tools from their trucks to cut the roof into segments. By time the fire department and paramedics arrived they had made significant progress in freeing Smith.

Applicants for the MEA Life Sustaining Award are approved by the Executive Committee of MEA’s Board of Directors. Read all the Life Sustaining stories here: http://www.midwestenergy.org/life-sustaining-award-2016-2017.html.

About MEA:

MEA serves the people that deliver electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses. MEA (Midwest ENERGY Association) was founded as a trade association over 100 years ago by distribution utilities, whose vision was to improve safety and efficiency. Today, energy…

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