NCTC employee receives Heroism Award after facing gunman
Jeff Powell never expected to stare down the barrel of a gun, much less take a bullet to the shoulder, but that is exactly what happened while on a service call for North Central Telephone Cooperative in Lafayette, Tennessee.
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized Powell at its annual Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) conference in Phoenix, Arizona in February, and presented him with the Heroism Award for his bravery in the face of danger.
In November 2017, Powell was on a routine service call in Scottsville, Kentucky, when an argument began in another room between the husband and wife who lived there. During the argument, the husband retrieved a handgun and fired shots. Powell was on a call with NCTC’s office at the time. He relayed the situation and asked them to call 911.
Unfortunately, things did not end there. After firing the first shots, the homeowner held Powell at gunpoint. Powell remained calm, raised his hands, repeatedly called the homeowner by his name and asked him not to shoot. The homeowner fired the gun anyhow, striking Powell in the shoulder. The bullet struck his clavicle before lodging in his back.
After several surgeries and therapies, Powell continues to recover, both physically and emotionally. Throughout both the medical and legal processes, he has kept his spirits up and has even helped his co-workers who had emotional trauma from the incident. “I appreciate the outpouring of love and support from my community, and I’m thankful to NTCA for this award,” Powell said.
The homeowner turned himself in to the police following the shooting and was later charged and sentenced for the crime.
NTCA’s Heroism Award recognizes telco employees who demonstrate courage in the face of an emergency. NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield presented the awards during the 2020 RTIME Excellence Awards Ceremony on Feb. 19.