Cleveland Entergy employee takes the road less travelled
Special to The Bolivar Bullet
Taking the road less traveled can make for an interesting journey. On August 5, it led Terry Clark, a shift serviceman in Cleveland to save a man’s life. Clark was on his way to a service call in rural Bolivar County when he had to choose between two routes. One was a familiar road he travels daily, but he chose the other path, not knowing it was a life or death decision.
Driving down that remote road, he saw one man at the edge of a gravel lane waving for help and another man on the ground in distress. As soon as Clark pulled up, he recognized the collapsed man as a local electrician.
“He was face down in the dirt and didn’t seem to be breathing,” said Clark. “We didn’t know what had happened, but he was next to an energized switchgear on the customer side of a well pump. That’s 480 volts and very dangerous.”
Instinct and his first aid training immediately kicked into high gear. Clark checked for vital signs and called an ambulance. He tried to get the victim, who was lying on his side and not breathing, to respond. The man began to move, but remained unresponsive and there was still no ambulance. Clark retrieved a face mask with breathing barrier from his truck to safely administer CPR if needed. Thankfully, the injured man continued to breathe on his own until the ambulance arrived. Later, Clark learned the man survived the apparent electric shock. He said it was a blessing in disguise because the gentleman had potentially fatal health concerns the doctors identified and treated.
Graham Cassibry, line supervisor in Cleveland, wasn’t surprised that Clark jumped into action because “looking out for hazardous situations and responding is part of Terry’s mentality.”
Clark said the military and Entergy equipped him to respond.
“The Army taught me not be get emotional and how to react in the field,” he said. “At Entergy, safety is part of our everyday job. And, we get yearly CPR training to keep our skills fresh. That’s helped me with my own family, too. I’d learned how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a child through Entergy. My younger daughter got a sucker stuck in her throat when she was about three years old. I used that technique to stop her from choking. She’s 18 years old now.”
More than training, safety is ingrained in Entergy’s culture as a core value. Robbin Jeter, Entergy Mississippi vice president of distribution operations, said employees using their skills outside of typical job duties proves that safety is a deep-rooted mindset.
“Safety is the most important component of everything we do,” he said. “We want our employees to go home in the same condition as when they arrived at work every day. We teach and emphasize living and working safely on the job and at home.
“Many of our employees voluntarily step up to help in emergencies. They may not save every person’s life when they intervene, but that doesn’t make their actions any less important. We’re proud that they use their knowledge and training to help others, especially in a life-threatening situation. It’s part of who they are as utility workers and as people.”
This isn’t the first time Clark has saved a life while working at Entergy. In 2018, he pulled a woman from a car crash moments before it went up in flames, earning him Entergy Mississippi’s Presidential Life Saving Award.
Clark said when he sees someone in need, he doesn’t think twice about running to their side.
“I don’t want to be telling my grandkids a story about how I wished I’d helped someone,” he said. “I’d rather do something and be glad I did than not do anything and wish I had.”