By Yolanda Akinrimisi, Senior Marketing Specialist
May 31 started off as a normal day for Zack O'Dell and his colleague Mike Teeples to go jogging. As they continued their jog in the early morning hours near the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, Colo., they encountered a woman in extreme distress who had been stabbed multiple times. O'Dell, who resides in Kansas but was in town for a business trip, rendered lifesaving aid to the woman, who survived the attack thanks to his intervention and care. As reported, the victim appeared to be attacked at random by a local teen who spotted her on a bike path.
Update to the case: The attacker, 19-year old Andrew Michael Young, was sentenced to 20 years for first degree assault. (source: Vail Daily, March 20, 2019)
When asked about his heroism, O'Dell, chief executive officer for S&T Telephone Cooperative (Brewster, Kan.), said, “I only did what anyone else would do … I really think the hero of this is not Mike or I. It’s the lady who fought off her attacker. She had been stabbed five times and assaulted. She fought off her attacker and ran, walked, hobbled almost a quarter of a mile to get to us. I think it’s excellence or nothing. You want to exude excellence in everything you do. You have to ask yourself if you’re not going to be good, excellent, then why are you doing the thing you’re doing?”
I think it’s excellence or nothing. You want to exude excellence in everything you do. — Zack O'Dell, S&T Telephone Cooperative Association
Thanks to O'Dell’s bravery and quick thinking, he is being honored with the NTCA Heroism Award. This award recognizes examples of true humanitarianism in which an individual acts without self-regard to come to the aid of others in a life-threatening situation, on or off the job.
About the eXcellence Awards
The eXcellence awards are the highest recognition of individual achievement is the Excellence Awards Program, which pays tribute to individuals in eight categories. By nominating someone for an NTCA Excellence Award, you help NTCA provide national recognition for those who have shown commitment to their community and our industry. You also promote awareness of rural achievements and highlight positive impacts on your community. Recipients receive recognition during the association's largest annual conference, RTIME, and in NTCA media.