In the right place at the right time…

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Storm aftermath leads to Elizabethton Electric’s Guyn saving a life

As winds twisted trees and wreaked havoc on the Dennis Cove area of the county last Monday night, it was the Elizabethton Electric System’s job to respond to the downed power lines that had blackened the area in the storm’s aftermath.

The company is used to responding to these type of emergency situations as residents count on their power getting restored just as soon as possible – a commodity that people have come to expect and grumble to be without.

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However, this particular storm and what it brought in the loss of power and destruction also came with a story of a heroic act by one of the Elizabethton Electric System’s employees – lineman Steven Guyn, and how being in the right place at the right time resulted in the saving of a man’s life.

The following is Guyn’s story in his own words:

“We had been up there for about two hours I guess and when we got to a certain pole where this tree had just killed this house – just laid over on the house and about every other house up there is someone’s vacation home or they don’t stay up there year around. I told my buddy that I was with that somebody lives there, there is way too much evidence of everyday use for someone not to live there. And he said that he hadn’t seen anybody but I told him that I had to check because it was driving me nuts.

“I kind of walked up into his driveway and I didn’t get to his house to check because I heard someone hit the side of the camper. He had a little camper sitting next to the driveway really, really close to his house. I walked over and I knocked on the door and I heard somebody moan. I said “is anybody in there?” and I knocked again and the door popped open on me because he must have been laying on the door and he fell out onto the ground.

“He was all kinds of different shades of white and mostly gray when we got to him. He wasn’t breathing but I knew he was alive because his eyes were kind of opening and going in and out. I picked him up and put him back into the camper and he took a big gasp of air and he told me he was having a heart attack.

“I told him I didn’t have any phone service there but that I was going to go to my boss and see if we could get on the radio and that I would be right back. I ran down to Brandon (Shell) and Danny (Statzer), who were down in the pickup and told them I needed to get on the radio to get 9-1-1 up there because there was a guy up there having a heart attack and it looked like he was dying.

“They got on the radio and got a hold of dispatch down here and were able to get in touch with 9-1-1 but I think that the forestry service was doing the same thing. They responded in a super-good response time, but I went back to the man to check on him and I asked him if there was anything that I could do for him at all. By that time, one of my buddies came up behind me and asked if he was okay and I told him no that he was asking for his nitro glycerin pills that was in his car and he couldn’t get to it.

“We got into the car and my buddy started to feel around in his car and found his pills and I asked if he needed water and he told me to just put it under his tongue. I held his head up and stuck a nitro glycerin pill under his tongue and he asked to be laid back down. Every time we laid him down, he would stop breathing. About that time, the forestry service showed up and they took him out of the camper and put him on his back and he was doing the same thing so they decided to roll him over on his side and that allowed him to breath.

“The ambulance showed up and took him to the hospital. When we were cleaning up the next morning, one of the people that lived at the bottom of the hill that knew the forestry service employee said that the man wanted to meet me and thank me. He was doing well and the doctors had told him that if he hadn’t got in the ambulance or at least to a doctor’s office when he did he wouldn’t have made it two or three hours.

“I have never felt like God had stuck me in a spot before like that was where I was suppose to have been. It would have been super easy to have passed by that house because we pass by houses all the time that have been trashed by storms. The same tree that took out his house had reached over to the camper.”

Guyn may not think of himself as a hero, but to the life that was saved and that man’s family, he fits the perfect mold of a hero as he displayed courage and a willingness to help someone that was unable to help themselves.

Although the storm that passed through brought damage and destruction, Guyn’s actions helped to restore life.