IBEW 1837 Member Mark Easter Gets Lifesaving Award

September 28, 2011 - In a ceremony attended by many of his co-workers at PSNH as well as company supervisors and officials from IBEW 1837, Mark Easter received the highest award his union offers: The IBEW Lifesaving Award. Brother Easter, an IBEW 1837 member since 1999, is a System Machinist in PSNH’s Generation Division working at the Hooksett Line Area Work Center.

The award stems from Mark’s response to a car crash earlier this year in Manchester, New Hampshire on the morning of February 9. Tom Powers of Merrimack was severely injured on the Amoskeag Bridge after being struck by a car while checking damage on his own vehicle from an earlier accident. Pinned between two cars and bleeding profusely with the temperature hovering around 5 degrees, Powers was still in danger from oncoming traffic driving into the glare of the morning sun.

IBEW 1837 member Mark Easter was also on the Amoskeag Bridge that morning driving to work and saw the second crash that badly injured Powers. He quickly turned his pickup truck to block traffic and waved him arms to warn other drivers of the danger ahead. Brother Easter then used his own coat to help keep Powers warm and his own belt to apply a tourniquet to one of Power’s legs while a nurse who arrived on the scene applied a tourniquet to his other leg. Mark’s quick action that morning came without hesitation. “That’s what you have to do when somebody needs help, there’s no question,” Easter said.

Mark is especially pleased that Tom Powers has defied the odds and amazed the doctors by walking again when they originally thought he would lose both legs. Mark and Tom have developed a friendship that comes from the special bond they established that winter morning. Although he had already received a Chairman’s Lifesaving Action Award from PSNH, the modest and soft spoken Easter wasn’t looking for any further recognition. “(The IBEW award) was totally unexpected, a really nice surprise,” he said.

“For all the (safety) training that we have and that the companies provide us, it may seem a little boring at times . . . but it is still inside you” said Ray Colello, IBEW 1837 President. “If it comes out and you need it, the training is there to help your fellow human beings and it’s a great thing.”

Oddly enough, just a few weeks before the crash on the bridge that critically injured Tom Powers, a head-on crash right in front of Mark Easter’s home in Weare also found him rushing to the aid of a motorist whose car was on fire. In this case, the badly-injured driver seemed to be lapsing in and out of consciousness while his car began to burn. Brother Easter grabbed a fire extinguisher, and while fighting off a neighbor’s dog, tried to quell the spreading flames. As soon as the fire was out it flared up again. Thinking quickly, Mark figured that the car’s battery was shorting out and grabbing his Leatherman utility tool, he cut through the thick positive battery cable. Only then was he able to put out the fire once and for all.

“This kind of thing has happened to me around five times in the last several years,” Easter said. “It’s kind of freaky.”

Mark Easter is a former Union Steward and member of the IBEW 1837 Contract Negotiating Team at PSNH. He and his wife Cheri have four children. We’re proud of Brother Easter and congratulate him and his family on this well-deserved honor.

You can view a video excerpt of the awards ceremony on YouTube.