Nebraska’s rural electric member systems work hard to provide electric service to the most rural areas of our state. We deliver a constant supply of electricity to your home or business at rates that are 15 percent below the national average. Beyond your electric service, our employees are connected to the communities they serve. We care deeply about the communities we work in and devote time and energy to make sure our small towns continue to thrive.
Whether it’s installing storm warning sirens, helping coach the t-ball team, packing meals for those in need, or serving on the volunteer fire department, our employees are actively engaged in our home communities.
Volunteer firefighters and EMTs give us everything they have with no more than a pat on the back for a job well done. They don’t do it for the glory; they do it for their neighbors, family, friends and even complete strangers. They help make up a strong foundation within our communities.
Dawson PPD is proud to count a few of these volunteers as employees.
Lexington Volunteer Fire Dept.
For tree crew foreman, Jon Robles, volunteering is all about helping others out and being a part of the community.
“What if it was your house on fire, or your loved one in an accident?” he said. “You would hope that someone would be there to help.
“Dawson PPD is 100 percent on board with its employees volunteering as firefighters and EMTs,” Robles continued. “We all live in small towns, too, and understand that if you don’t have volunteers, you don’t have anything.”
Robles joined the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department in 2002. The fire department consists of about 40 members who responded to more than 600 calls in 2013. Their territory includes Interstate 80; the source of the majority of the calls.
Robles also serves as an EMT along with 24 other volunteers. The fire department has two ambulances.
One of the best experiences Robles has as a volunteer is the comradery among the group.
“You won’t find a better group of guys. They become a second family,” he said. “Just like at Dawson PPD when working around electricity, you rely on your crew to look out for you. I know that these guys have my back.”
Amherst Volunteer Fire Department / Sumner Rescue Unit
Trent Trampe, Dawson PPD maintenance lineman from the Sumner service center, has been a volunteer firefighter since 2000 for the Amherst Volunteer Fire Department. Within the past two years he has also served as an EMT with the Sumner Rescue Unit. The Amherst Volunteer Fire Department has 24 members and responds to about 40 calls a year.
For five years, Trampe served as the fire chief. He stepped down from his position in December 2013 to spend more time with his family.
“The chief is responsible for everyone’s safety,” he said. “You need to make sure that everyone knows their role and when to call for mutual aid.”
The chief is also responsible for a lot of administrative tasks and fundraisers to support the department. Two years ago, the Amherst department had a new fire hall built as the old building no longer met the department’s needs.
With all of the roles held as chief, Trampe dedicated anywhere from 10-60 hours each month of his time.
“Being a volunteer is a huge commitment and you’re not compensated for it,” he said. “But I think everyone has to do their part for the community. My family and friends are here, and I want to make sure that someone is coming when 911 is called.”
Hershey Volunteer Fire Dept.
North Platte maintenance lineman and rookie volunteer firefighter Blake Baldwin first became interested in volunteering while responding to fires on the job.
“As a lineman, we have to be present to shut off the power and help investigate the cause of the fire,” he said. “I wanted to do more than that.”
Baldwin joined the Hershey Volunteer Fire Department in 2013. The department has about 25 members.
Since his training, he’s noticed a lot of similarities between his job and volunteer work that meshes well together.
“I know the territory well, it is similar to Dawson PPD’s territory lines,” he said. “It’s helpful when directing the firefighters to the location of the fire.”
The ability to shut off power at the scene quickly has its advantages, too.
In all, helping out is simply in his nature.
“Whether it’s getting the power back on after a storm or putting out a fire, I enjoy helping others out when they need me,” he said.
For the second consecutive year, Southwest Public Power District employees volunteered to help pack nourishing food for the Mercy Meals organization in Wauneta Nebraska. On May 11th seventeen employees, board members and family helped pack over 2200 packages containing over 13,210 servings which were shipped to needy families.
Mercy Meals is a 100 percent volunteer organization who’s mission is to not only satisfy the physical needs of the hungry but to minister to their spiritual needs by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The employees of SWPPD are proud to donate their time to such a worthy cause.
For more information go to www.mercymealsofsouthwestnebraska.org.
Chelsea Gengenbach and Colyn Suda contributed to this article.