JOURNEYMAN HUMAN BEING
Tragedy averted by quick-thinking apprentice
Jason Tucker had been an apprentice electrician for exactly one day when he was confronted with his first journeyman test.
Cresting a small rise on a busy two-lane thoroughfare in Auburn, Tucker was surprised to see an elderly woman a short distance ahead of him, sprawled in the middle of road.
“I pulled over the shoulder about 20 yards in front of her and put on my flashers so other vehicles coming over the rise would see my vehicle prior to reaching her,” said Tucker. The speed limit was 45 mph.
As Tucker hurried to the woman’s aid, two vehicles sped by. They swerved to miss the woman but did not stop. When Tucker reached the woman he found her conscious but in great pain.
“She was really scared, very distraught. You can imagine how that would be for an elderly person,” said Tucker.
Tucker identified himself. The woman said her name was Linda, that she was 69 years old, and had fallen and injured herself. The pain was in her lower back.
Tucker decided it would be unwise to try to move her. He called 911 and focused on directing traffic until help arrived.
While they waited, two or three other motorists pulled over to offer assistance. This was a welcome change from the cars that had simply swerved around Linda earlier. But Tucker didn’t see any value in having a bunch more people congregating in the roadway, so he advised them that help was on the way and encouraged them to keep moving.
“The first responder was the Auburn Police Department,” said Tucker, although it’s clear that Tucker himself was the actual “first responder.”
Tucker stayed on the scene for a while to assist police with directing traffic.
“Then the American Medical Response arrived and they transported her to a hospital in Auburn,” said Tucker.
Personal safety and the public’s safety are the first responsibilities of an IBEW member. Jason Tucker—a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)—certainly had the technical skills to assist the woman lying in the roadway in Auburn. But he had something more—he had the basic humanity to recognize a person in need and to respond as any decent person should.
The excitement has passed. Tucker, who is 32 and a “single dad” with a one-year-old, has returned to his work as an apprentice electrician. The day after Valentine’s Day, a week after his encounter with Linda, he was at the Vaca-Dixon substation, picking up materials needed for work at a sub in Placerville. He’s working under a journeyman electrician who, as Tucker puts it, “is teaching me the ins and outs of the work, about the responsibilities and performance expectations of an apprentice electrician.”
There’s one performance expectation Tucker’s already met in full: he’s proved himself a journeyman human being.