An Ameren lineman goes the extra mile to reach out to others in his community.
When Ken Carroll, a transmission lineman who has worked for Ameren for 18 years, climbs down from the pole at the end of the day, often he makes a stop before he goes home. That stop includes visiting nursing home patients.
Three nights a week Carroll stops by one of three nursing homes, one in New Florence, Missouri, where he works, and two in St. Charles, Missouri. He checks in on residents he's met before, chats with the staff and looks for people who are sitting alone.
“I introduce myself and ask how they are doing,” Carroll said. “Then I often just sit there and they'll start talking.”
He also visits hospitalized patients sometimes at the request of his church and sometimes on his own. He checks at the nurses' station to see if there's a patient who hasn't had visitors and then spends time with them.
His visits started about 14 years ago when a fellow church member became a resident of the Blanchette Nursing Home. Carroll visited her for six months until she passed away. He noticed how many people were alone.
“You can't believe how many people in nursing homes and hospitals don't have visitors,” he said. “It's the hardest time in their life, and they feel alone.”
Because he makes most of his visits on his way home from work, Carroll often is wearing his Ameren shirt. Sometimes people ask him why Ameren would send employees to visit them.
“Now I make it a point to wear my Ameren shirt,” he said. “It shows that Ameren is not a big, cold company. It's made up of employees who care about helping others. Ameren absolutely values helping the community. There are so many Ameren employees who volunteer in the community. People think differently of a company just by meeting a good employee.”
Carroll is strong in both stature and his faith. He has a positive attitude and exuberance for life. Carroll believes in people and in the power of prayer.
“There's no guarantee that any of us will be here tomorrow,” he said. “I want to do what I can today and spend time with people.”
He said the biggest mistake people can make is to become cloistered, only worry about their own needs and forget other people. Carroll's wife calls him a “gas station evangelist” because her husband makes it a point to strike up a conversation with strangers even when he stops in the gas station to buy a cup of coffee. When he says hello and asks them how they are doing, a lot of them open up and tell him about the things that are bothering them.
“Great changes happen because one person took time to do or say something to someone that made such an impact, that they achieved great things,” he said.
Kelly Pahl (email@example.com) is a freelance writer for Ameren and lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
Editor's note: If you are a lineman and have done volunteer work in your area, we would like to hear about it. Send your photos and stories to Contributing Editor Amy Fischbach at firstname.lastname@example.org.