July 24, 2015Triple J Pipelines and Direct Horizontal Drilling recently completed a project for Spectra Gas in North Eastern British Columbia. The details of the particular project aren’t important, the time and the scope is irrelevant.
What makes this a story worth telling are the people it involves. Men and women of the pipeline and oil and gas industry.
Early in April — 8 a.m. on a Tuesday to be exact — I got a phone call from one of my guidance technicians (steering hand) working on a 500-m project. He spoke quietly and haltingly, he told me he had to go home, his wife had just passed away in her sleep. I was speechless, never had I ever dreamed of this type of scenario. We quickly made plans to return Mike Gerow to his family of two boys by means of a private plane, by 1 p.m. he was back at home near Edmonton, Alberta.
This is where the story begins.
Word moved fast around and along the pipeline, no one could believe that this happened. Everyone expects the person at risk and in danger was the spouse or friend who is in the field working, not the person at home keeping the home fires burning. It was a huge shocker, everyone paused for thought. The entire project was affected, including the head offices of any company that was involved or heard of the tragedy. The next question was: What do we do?
When Jay Grabowski of Triple J pipelines and Matt Kinch from Spectra Gas thought of this, they knew they had to help. They hit upon an idea to raise some funds for Mike and his family by having a 50/50 draw on the project.
Within a few days, after printing some tickets and organizing the draw they raised over $3,600, with Triple J and Spectra promising to match from a corporate level. All this for someone who many of the pipeliners and service providers had never met. What an excellent group of people, some companies provided donations directly to the fund as everyone was feeling that this could have been them in this situation.
When Monday rolled around and the draw was completed, many of the more than 200 people present were brought to tears when the gentleman who won the 50/50 ($1,800) gave it all back to the fund. A truly touching moment and amazing people.
In total $ 9,000 was set aside for Mike and his family, completely unexpected but so incredible, it was hard for us at Direct Horizontal to contain our emotions.
“Wow! Even a thank you doesn’t seem enough, when seeing a community of fellow co-workers pull together and support Mike Gerow and family in this time of need. On behalf of Mike, his family and we at Direct Horizontal I would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks,” said Richard Young, Direct Horizontal Drilling LRD superintendent.
More to the Story
That is where my story ends, people working together to support each other, good people, good companies and a huge amount of compassion. But this in turn started another wave.
As word spread throughout other HDD, pipeline companies and service providers in Alberta and British Columbia, they all wanted to help. Again, there was a feeling among the men and women who worked many days away from home every year that no one expects the person they leave at home wouldn’t be there when they returned. It hit us hard in the heart and mind, and quickly donations and another 50/50 draw was setup to allow everyone to donate a little or as much as they wanted. The results were amazing.
Today, Mike Gerow is back at work, trying his best to make it work as a single dad with two growing boys, he isn’t sure what the future holds but is planning for the best. He is greatly humbled by the compassion that he has seen in the wake of his tragedy, as we all are.
After letting Mike know I was going to send this article, he responded to me immediately. “This is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through in my life and the support of my friends, family and co-workers has made things manageable. I was floored when I heard how much money was raised for my family and it will be a huge help to us. People really surprise you when something like this happens, and everyone coming together to help someone, it is truly amazing. My deepest thanks to all,” Gerow said.
My hat goes off to everyone at the Triple J /Spectra project including Key-May Industries and all the others that came forward so selflessly.
Please share this with everyone you know. And take a moment to tell your family you love them and miss them when your away.