Corps employee aids car accident victim

Published Feb. 15, 2009

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee serving in emergency duty in western Kentucky to install generators at critical facilities without power during the recent ice storm assisted a family during a life-threatening emergency not associated with the natural disaster. 

Charles Stroup, a Pittsburgh District employee, served as a quality assurance inspector in support of the Corps support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency mission. While inspecting a Corps-installed generator at the Kentucky State Medical Examiner Office, Stroup watched a car roll over a man at a service garage across the street in Madisonville, Ky. 

According to Stroup, the vehicle started while in gear, ran over the man servicing the vehicle, rolled across the parking lot and crashed into a neighboring building. Stroup crossed the street and met with the victim’s distraught wife.

“I told her to call 911 and told her not to worry and to stay calm,” Stroup said.

Although he did not have to perform CPR, Stroup said he had the knowledge from the training required by the Corps in CPR and first aid.

The Corps requires personnel such as Stroup who serves as the lock and dam operator leader at CW Bill Young Lock and Dam located across from Acmetonia, Penn., to be trained for emergency medical response.

“It is a requirement for the Corps of Engineers. We have to know CPR and have a refresher course each year,” Stroup said. “It helped to keep the person calm. I stayed with him and talked with him and made sure he was alright.”

Stroup remained at the scene until the fire department and EMS arrived and transported the victim to the hospital.

Stroup works as part of the Power Response Team stationed at Fort Campbell – the staging area for generators used at facilities across the state. The Army Corps of Engineers has installed more than 150 generators at critical facilities across the 93 counties ravaged by the ice and cold weather in Kentucky.

The Corps mission to the winter storm recovery was large enough for additional support to be brought in from sister districts across the country. In addition to Stroup, other Pittsburgh District employees volunteered where needed in the Louisville District Emergency Operations Center.

David Bishop, works in Pittsburgh District but serves as a Corps Headquarters asset.

“Anytime there is a disaster, even in down time, we are planning,” Bishop said of his emergency response team.

Bishop initially worked in the Kentucky State Emergency Operations Center and moved to the Fort Campbell Office, the same office as Stroup, to assist as needed. He reported the accident within the Corps referring to Stroup as a response team hero.

Another Pittsburgh District employee Marie McCullough volunteered to assist in the Louisville District EOC. In her position as the Power Planning and Response Team liaison, McCullough discussed Stroup’s heroic actions as characteristic.

“This is no surprise. I’m very proud he was able to do this,” McCullough said.

In Pittsburgh District, she serves as a project manager in the arena of water and sewer lines for civil works projects.  She volunteered to work in the Louisville District’s EOC to coordinate information for the operations centers in Frankfort and Fort Campbell.

The power mission has placed industrial-sized generators for organizations such as churches, hospitals, nursing homes, local and state government buildings and other institutions as required by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and removes the generators after power has been restored.  

As a quality assurance inspector, Stroup checks to assure the generators are working properly, note if power has been restored to an area, report any vandalism to the equipment and confirm the generators are not causing environmental hazards from leaks or other problems.

Stroup is just one of the many inspectors on the mission. His area covers a large portion of western Kentucky including the cities of Dawson Springs and Madisonville.

His daily inspections take approximately 12-hours.  The days may require long hours, but Stroup added, “People out here are really appreciative.”

He added he had checked on the car accident victim but had not received a report back on his condition. “I hope he is doing well,” Stroup added.