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Salute to Service: Journeyman lineman does more than just keep the lights on

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KALISPELL - This edition of Salute to Service features a Flathead Electric Cooperative journeyman lineman.

Many people think lineman are just there to restore power during outages but they are also often first responders on accidents, fires and other emergencies, too.

Reporter Jack Ginsburg has the story of a linemen who is dedicated to serving the community.

"No day is really normal, we don't know what we're going to do from day to day. It's come to work and nothing gets scheduled. That's one of the things I like about my job, it's super nice to do something different and it's fun," said Travis Tennison.

He's been working at Flathead Electric for over 10 years now and has seen quite a lot while on the job, "monster ponderosa tree burning and all the limbs had fire shooting out of every hole and every limb and with a  dead horse probably 40 yards away."

Tennison, along with three co-workers, Chad Bessette, Chuck Johnson and Doug Tu recently came across another rare incident. They all played a part in saving Darlene Hill's life when she collapsed in her driveway, cracked her skull open, and bled for up to 20 minutes before the lineman noticed and attended to her.

When asked about the recognition he had received for performing first aid and stopping the bleeding, Tennison was more than modest about it, "yeah, I held towels on a lady's head, applied pressure."

When Hill was taken to the hospital doctors determined that she was minutes from death and credited the first responders as instrumental to saving her life. All four linemen were recognized by receiving the Live Savers Response Award for their efforts.

Over 30 lineman cover the area at any given time, helping power homes and do whatever else they can to serve the community.

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