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AEP Texas employee Mark Rickman presented with AEP Chairman’s Lifesaving Award

by on December 17, 2012
Mark Rickman (center), service mechanic for AEP Texas, is presented the AEP Chairman’s Lifesaving Award from Nick Akins (right), AEP president and CEO, and Wade Smith (left), AEP Texas president and COO. 

(Story by Omar G. Lopez)

VICTORIA, Texas — AEP Texas employee Mark Rickman, service mechanic in Yorktown, was recently awarded the AEP Chairman’s Lifesaving Award by AEP President and CEO Nick Akins, for his heroic effort of waking a couple from sleep while their home was on fire.

Rickman was driving down a street while on duty in Runge, Texas, when he noticed something peculiar coming from a garage — smoke. Following his gut instinct, he stopped his vehicle and decided to take a closer look.

“As I drove past a home around the middle of the block I thought I saw smoke coming out from under the garage door,” Rickman said. “I turned around and drove back to the house because I noticed smoke coming from the eaves of the garage as well.”

Rickman saw a parked vehicle in the garage, so he ran to the front door and knocked – then banged. After no answer, he ran to the back door and found it unlocked. Smoke filled the home, but Rickman entered, yelling out for anyone who may have been in the house.

“I could see enough to make out bedroom doors, and when I opened the second door in the hallway and yelled out for someone, I woke up a sleeping couple,” he said. “We exited through the back door safely and I called 9-1-1. The fire department arrived quickly and was able to extinguish the fire that had started in the utility room.”

Rickman returned later that day to make sure everyone was safe.

Scott Parks, supervisor – Distribution System, Kenedy, said Rickman’s alert nature and commitment to safety led to the rescue.

“Mark was very alert that day, as he usually is. Watching his surroundings as he was traveling through the neighborhood allowed him to play a big role in this situation,” Parks said. “Mark did what probably most people would have done, but the key here is that Mark’s attentive nature led him to notice the smoke, which most people would not do. He is always very alert on the job, and on this day it allowed him to save two lives. I’m lucky to have him on my team.”

Akins, who traveled to Texas specifically for the occasion, presented Rickman with a trophy at a special ceremony in Victoria.

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