Frontier worker credited with saving customer’s life during service call [NH Register]

September 10, 2015


When 85-year-old Joyce Crawford called Frontier Communications on July 10, she just wanted to discuss some items on her bill.

But the Suffield woman’s call to Frontier turned out to be a lifesaver, thanks to the calm demeanor and quick thinking of John Pelow, the phone company employee on the other end of the line. Pelow heard Crawford begin to slur her speech, thought she might be having a stroke and asked her if she wanted him to call 911.

“It it weren’t for him, I might not be here today,” Crawford said Wednesday, after meeting her hero for the first time at Frontier’s Orange Street headquarters. “All of a sudden, the words that were in my brain wouldn’t exit my mouth. I think if he hadn’t recognized that I was having trouble speaking, I probably would have waited to call 911 and it might been too late.”

As it turned out, Crawford was suffering from a subdural hematoma, which is bleeding on the brain. Crawford said doctors believe the bleeding had started about four weeks before the July 10 phone call, when she had tripped and fallen in her home.

“I didn’t think anything about it at the time,” Crawford said.

Pelow, who lives in Newington, said he recognized something might be wrong with Crawford because his wife, Anne, is a nurse and his son is an emergency medical technician. After calling for an ambulance, Pelow stayed on the phone with Crawford until the paramedics arrived at her home.

“This is all very humbling,” Pelow said of Wednesday’s ceremony, which included presentation of a proclamation to him by two of the state’s most powerful political leaders, state Senate President Martin M. Looney and Minority Leader Len Fasano.

“John Pelow proved that you don’t need to wear a cape to be a hero,” Looney said. “His quick thinking and calm response helped save a life.”

Fasano said Pelow’s “professionalism and heroic efforts deserve to be celebrated.”

State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, lauded Pelow’s actions.

“For many of us, when we leave for work we expect that the day is going to be routine,” Winfield said. “Mr. Pelow had the routine of his day interrupted by an emergency, and his response in that situation saved Ms. Crawford’s life. I was happy to applaud Mr. Pelow for his actions that day on the phones for Frontier Communications. Mr. Pelow’s actions serve as a friendly reminder heroes do walk among us.”

Pelow’s quick thinking initially went unnoticed. His wife said he didn’t even mention what had happened that day when he came home from work.

But Crawford was determined to track down the man who may have saved her life.

“Employees sometimes get lost in the shuffle, even when they do good things,” she said. “I didn’t want that to happen.”

Crawford made some calls, and once Pelow’s supervisors heard what he had done, “the whole story went viral within the company,” said Liz Grey Godbout, communications manager for Frontier’s Connecticut operations.

Cecilia McKenney, Frontier’s executive vice president and chief customer officer, said in an email to Pelow that she “almost fell out of my chair,” when she heard what he had done.

“I, for one, am privileged to work with you,” McKenney’s email said in part. “Thank you for living our company values in such an amazing way.”

Pelow has worked in the telecommunications business in Connecticut for 15 years, starting with SNET, then AT&T and now Frontier.

“For me, it was just another day at the office,” Pelow said of his actions that day.