Two MidAmerican Energy Employees Receive the 2021 MEA Life Sustaining Award

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MEA presents two individuals at MidAmerican Energy with Life Sustaining Awards for rescuing a critically injured man.

2021 Life Sustaining Award Recipients - MidAmerican Energy Company - Colby Stephens and Ken Hoogendoorn

2021 Life Sustaining Award Recipients - MidAmerican Energy Company

MEA is honored to present the Life Sustaining Award to Colby and Ken.

MEA Energy Association (MEA) is honored to bestow Life Sustaining Awards to Colby Stephens, crew leader line mechanic, and Ken Hoogendoorn, combination line mechanic, both of MidAmerican Energy Company, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa and MEA member since 1972.

A team of MidAmerican Energy Company line resources were dispatched on October 29, 2020 to assist Oklahoma Gas and Electric after a significant ice storm caused widespread outages across their service territory. While onsite, one worker had climbed a wooden distribution pole and was working to clear two damaged service wires from a pole after a tree came down on the lines. Electricity passed through the man and he lost consciousness. Stephens and Hoogendoorn immediately rushed to rescue him from the pole and initiate life-saving measures. Hoogendoorn worked to perform pole top rescue and Stephens quickly reacted to position a nearby bucket truck to lower the man from the pole. Fortunately, the incident occurred less than two miles from a hospital, and paramedics arrived just as the man was brought down from the pole, where the paramedics took over to perform CPR.

The man spent the next 30 days in Oklahoma City fighting for his life. He was released on December 1, 2020 and finally returned to his family and several members of his community in his hometown, where he continued to recover from his injuries.

“MEA is honored to present the Life Sustaining Award to Colby and Ken,” said John Gann, MEA Vice President. “We are extremely grateful to these outstanding individuals who took quick action to save a colleague. Their actions are a testament to who these individuals are and to the training they receive as MidAmerican Energy employees.”

MEA Life Sustaining Awards are presented to individuals from member companies who have saved the life of another. The Meritorious Service Award is granted to recognize those who have performed actions in the service of another that are considered above and beyond. Applications for the MEA Life Sustaining and Meritorious Service Award are reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee of MEA’s Board of Directors. Read about all MEA awards at

For questions contact John Gann, johng (at) MEAenergy (dot) org, or (651) 289-9600 x105.

About MEA:
MEA serves the people that deliver electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses. We were founded as a trade association over 110 years ago by distribution utilities whose vision was to improve safety and efficiency. Today, we fulfill the same purpose through education, leadership development, and industry connections. Energy delivery companies, contractors, and suppliers around the country benefit from our 55 summits, roundtables, and webinars, 400+ online technical courses, safety assessments, evaluator training, operator qualification compliance tools, and leadership courses for field personnel.

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