Lafayette, Tennessee — NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized NCTC employee Jeff Powell at its annual Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO (RTIME) conference in Phoenix, Arizona, earlier this week. Powell, a central office technician at NCTC, received a Heroism Award for his bravery in the face of an armed gunman while out on a home service repair.
In November 2017, Powell was on a routine service call in Scottsville, Kentucky, when an argument began in another room between the residents, a husband and wife. 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 coworkers 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.
NCTC’s president and CEO, Johnny McClanahan, along with several NCTC board members, attended the awards ceremony where Jeff was recognized. “We are extremely thankful to have Jeff Powell with us, and I believe he was heroic in not only his brave actions on that day, but also in the way he handled the situation in the days and months afterward,” said McClanahan.
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association has a membership comprised of nearly 850 independent rural American telecommunications companies in 44 states. “For Jeff to have been chosen out of thousands of members is a tremendous honor, and I cannot think of anyone who deserves it more,” said McClanahan.