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IBEW Life Saving Awards

Updated: Apr 5

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers issued Life Saving Awards to Steve Volland, Robert Gaynor, Stephen Sink, Jeffery Gilstead, Cullen Ketterhagen and Andrew Kerestes. Read their heroic stories below.

Pictured left: Steve Volland receiving his Award from Local 15 President, Chris Riser at the Central Unit Meeting.

On June 8th, 2023, Steve Volland ensured his crew was prepared and had material for the days work and exited the Maywood Headquarters enroute to his job assignment.

He exited the yard and proceeded southbound to the intersection of First Avenue and Illinois 290 when he noticed cars swerving around an object in the street. When Steve approached the ‘object’ he realized it was a person who had been struck by another vehicle lying in the street. Steve used his vehicle to block the lane, turned on his warning and MARS lights, to prevent the pedestrian from being struck again. Steve promptly called 911. While on the phone with emergency services, Steve put on gloves and exited his vehicle to provide aid. When he exited his vehicle he noticed a second company vehicle on the scene. The second person was Rhonda Bellavia, a management employee, who had also activated 911. Steve and Rhonda worked together to survey the persons injuries and realized the person had sustained severe, life threatening, injuries to her left leg - having lost most of her leg below the knee. They applied a tourniquet stopping the bleeding and utilized several spill kit blankets to provide a pillow for the injured’s head. They provided comfort and treated the victim for shock until an ambulance arrived on scene. As stated by the ambulance crew the service they rendered saved the life of the injured until ambulance crews could arrive and assume responsibility and treatment.

Pictured below after receiving IBEW Awards from Local 15 President, Chris Riser: Robert Gaynor, Stephen Sink, Jeffery Gilstead, Cullen Ketterhagen and Andrew Kerestes.

On the Morning of June 17th a Six person Libertyville, Illinois ComEd crew was assigned a public improvement job of upgrading cross arms, wires, cutouts and stirrups. The crew Makeup was Bob Gaynor (CL), Stephen Sink (OE), Jeff Gilstead (OE Start 2), Cullen Ketterhagen (OE Start 2), James Clark (OE Start 2) and Andy Kerestes (OE Start 1).

After arriving on the jobsite, all proper preliminary work was completed by the crew to include work area protection, Job Brief, Line of Fire from Above, and all associated job assignments were given by Bob Gaynor. All the construction work was completed without incident.

Upon receiving permission from OCC the crew began the process of re-livening the 12kV circuit at the job location, Jim Clark (Clark) ascended in the bucket to perform the tasks of hot line tap installation and fuse installation to energize the line. After installing the hot line taps, (Clark) turned in the bucket to operate the controls. At the same time Bob Gaynor turned from his position to relocate and better observe the final steps. During that short timeframe (Clark) made contact on the back of his shoulder, bridging the top and bottom of the fuse cut-out, causing him to drop an insulated stick to the ground, and more importantly, lose consciousness and collapse into the bucket. Upon hearing the stick strike the ground, Bob Gaynor yelled to (Clark) and received no response. Instantly, Bob Gaynor began assigning rescue tasks and activated the notification process by calling his FLS while instructing Cullen Ketterhagen to call 911. Ketterhagen was instructed to use the Job Brief sheet to give pertinent location information (which he did throughout the time until an ambulance arrived). Jeff Gilstead was directed to grab the ‘go bag’ with the AED, and Stephen Sink immediately ran to the truck to bring (Clark) down using the lower controls. When the bucket reached the ground Andy Kerestes and Stephen Sink assisted in getting (Clark) out of the bucket and onto the ground. Stephen Sink surveyed (Clark’s) condition and started CPR. During this time Jeff Gilstead, with Andy Kerestes, took the AED out of its bag and assembled the leads and pads. Once assembled the leads were applied and (Clark’s) condition was checked via the s circuitry. It was necessary to activate the AED 3 separate times to resuscitate (Clark). After seeing that (Clark) had regained cardiac rhythm and had begun breathing all crew members continued to provide assistance and comfort to (Clark) while waiting for the ambulance to arrive (they now heard its approach). Shortly after (Clark) regaining consciousness the ambulance crew arrived and began to assume responsibility for (Clark) who was shortly thereafter transported to a local hospital for treatment. (Clarks) injuries included entry and exit wounds, and several broken ribs. His recovery continues.


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