“At Benton REA, we believe that our obligation to the people in our local communities goes beyond providing electricity,” says General Manager Mike Bradshaw during the award ceremony. “We are glad we could play a small part to help people during the February snow storm. I want to thank the State Patrol for everything you do on a day-to-day basis, because you are the real heroes.”
The Washington State Patrol and Benton County Sheriff deputies called on Benton REA and Benton PUD on February 9 to help rescue motorists stranded in snow drifts on Sellards Road along the Paterson Highway. Conditions were so difficult the roads had been closed. The two utility crews used snow crawlers designed to navigate through heavy snow where snow plows could not get through. Working late into the night, they retrieved a family of four, a husband and wife, and several hunters who were stranded in their cars for six hours in blizzard conditions. The snow was so deep that each of the snow crawlers became stuck in snow drifts requiring help from the second crawler to be pulled out of the drift. The utility crews were able to bring the motorists to safety.
“The safety of our employees and our customers is a number one priority for us at Benton PUD,” said Chad Bartram Benton PUD General Manager. “We commend these linemen and all involved in delivering more than expected to bring these stranded motorist to safety during extreme winter conditions.”