September 16, 2009 - NTCA Honors Telco Rapid Responders with Newly Created Award

Telco representatives recognized for aiding members affected by natural disasters

September 16, 2009, Arlington, Va. - The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) honored representatives from 24 rural communications providers as recipients of the first ever Rapid Responders Award. The award was created to recognize telcos for their exemplary teamwork and dedication to providing assistance to NTCA members affected by natural disasters.

The award was spearheaded by West Kentucky Rural Telephone General Manager, Trevor Bonstetter, whose telco was severely affected by a major ice storm in January 2009. West Kentucky's service area was without power for several days and an estimated 6,000 of the telco's customers were without telephone service at one time. The company received assistance from 20 telephone companies-more than 60 workers-from seven states, and borrowed 56 generators to supplement its existing supply. With the help of these volunteers and borrowed equipment, West Kentucky was eventually able to restore service to its customers, replacing over 50 telephone poles and re-hanging 400,000 feet of lines.

In response to the storm, NTCA activated its Disaster Clearinghouse, an online resource that matches affected telcos in need of supplies or other materials following a natural disaster with other telcos able to donate supplies or human resources. Several members immediately offered assistance, and the CEO of Ben Lomand Telephone Cooperative in McMinnville, Tenn., offered to coordinate relief efforts for West Kentucky, because it was unable to make or receive calls.

"We are pleased to honor these recipients of the Rapid Responders Award for their willingness to do whatever it took to help restore critical communications service to those affected by the ice storm," said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Brunner. "These recipients exemplify the spirit of rural communications providers, and we applaud their extraordinary commitment to doing the right thing-at any cost."

The awards were presented at NTCA's Fall Conference in New York City. Following is a list of those recognized for their efforts:

Greg Anderson
Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative
Louise Brown
Loretto Telephone Company
Bill Buchanan
McDonough Telephone Cooperative
John Colbert
Fidelity Communications Company
Keith Gabbard
Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative
Steve Gann
Green Hills Telephone Corporation
Wayne Gassaway
Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperative
Paul Gearheart
Coalfields Telephone
Gary Godfrey
Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone
David Grahn
Wabash Telephone Cooperative
Les Greer
DTC Communications
Curley P. Huggins
Horry Telephone Cooperative
Kevin Jacobsen
Egyptian Telephone Cooperative Assoc.
Fred Johnson
Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative
Dale Jones
Tri-County Telephone Association
Levoy Knowles
Ben Lomand Telephone Cooperative
Bill Magruder
Duo County Telephone Cooperative
William Rohde
Mark Twain Rural Telephone Company
A.G. "Smokey" Scanlan
Eatel
Jim Simon
Chariton Valley Telephone Corporation
Robert Thacker
Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company
Bob Thomason
Hamilton County Telephone Co-op.
Nancy White
North Central Telephone Cooperative
Tom Young
Kingdom Telephone Company

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 The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and sContact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086mall-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.