On March 22, Cloverland Electric Co-op lineworkers Jim Sutton and Phil Den Boer were dispatched to disconnect power at a house fire in Newberry. While on the scene, they witnessed firefighters Glen Pittman and Steve Fossitt enter the burning house and fall through the floor into the basement. Sutton and Den Boer immediately alerted Incident Commander Phillip Nelson who mobilized the firefighters on-scene to respond for a rescue. The lineworkers then manned the fire hoses. Both firefighters were rescued, with burns and minor injuries. “If not for the quick actions of Sutton and Den Boer, this would have ended in tragedy,” said rescued firefighter Pittman.

For their actions above, Sutton and Den Boer received the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association’s 2014 Good Neighbor Watch Award.

The award recognizes co-op employees who were involved with an emergency situation and provided assistance to people in the community during the course of their workday. This program began as a partnership between electric co-ops and local sheriff’s departments and other law enforcement and “helping” agencies. It has proven to be very helpful in many situations, with co-op employees using their first aid and other special training and skills to help people in the community by reporting suspicious activities, fires, accidents and other emergencies, and even saving lives.

Besides recognition at MECA’s annual meeting, Good Neighbor Watch Award recipients receive $100 and an award plaque.