In February we invited you to send us stories of the positive encounters or experiences you have with Harvest Land employees for our Salute to Service program. We asked you to share with us the instance of an employee going above and beyond, someone handling a difficult assignment with professionalism or an employee representing Harvest Land in an oustanding way.
We received 68 nominations from Harvest Land customers and employees nominating their peers. This was an amazing response to a simple ask! But it made our job difficult. We closed nominations in November and then asked our employee base to read through all nominations and choose their top three choices to win the 2019 Salute to Service Award.
At our cooperative Christmas party on December 14 the winner was announced. Today we want to share with you the winner:
Gabe is the Manager at Lena Ag Center.
The winning submission:
May 26, 2018 around 2:05pm is a day that I will never forget! My boss Gabe McWhinney and I were filling anhydrous tanks when the accident happened. The tank I was filling started to leak around the fill valve. When I went to tighten it all hell broke loose! The valve and hose came off the tank in my hand. The pressure was so great it pushed me back off the wagon on the the dock where I was working. I blacked out for a few seconds and when I came to I found myself face down on the corner of the dock. I felt the hose that left my hand wrapped around my right leg. My first thought was “I need to get away from the hose,” so I pulled myself off the dock and got down under it. That’s when I got a mouth full of vapors. The next thing I saw from under the dock was Gabe running to shut the emergency shut off cables to stop the pump. Then I saw him run to the office which is about 50 yards away. He came back out of the office and said “Dan, I’m coming.” All this took place in about 30 to 45 seconds. He started running from the office to the dock, grabbed the garden hose, started spraying down the vapor cloud and spraying me with water all while turning off the valves. After he got the valves turned off he climbed down under the dock where I was laying on my stomach. The first words out of his mouth was “I got you Dan.” He then took the garden hose and sprayed me off as best he could. Once he got everything sprayed off he said “let’s get you out from under this dock.” By the time it took us to get out from under the dock the fire department showed up. I was able to walk on my own and started flushing my eyes. When the ambulance showed up Gabe said “take him first.” At that time I didn’t know the hose and valve that came off in my hand had hit Gabe square in his rear end and caused him to be pushed off the dock, causing him to lose his phone from his hip; hence the reason he had to run to the office to have the secretary call 911. All in one motion after getting hit with the hose and valve. He was definitely thinking and on his game to do all of that without any hesitation.
When we got in the ambulance which there was one for me and one for him we headed to the hospital. Once there we had to be detoxed. When I got in the shower at the hospital things started going down hill for me. I had to be Careflighted to Miami Valley Hospital where I was admitted. Gabe followed me all the way to Dayton with his wife after he was checked out at Upper Valley Medical Center. He made his wife stop at WalMart to buy him some clothes because his were all bagged up from the detox process. When the left Wal Mart with clothes and shoes they made their way to Miami Valley Hospital and stayed several hours. Upon my admission I had to have an emergency tracheotomy and Gabe stayed with my wife during all of this and didn’t leave until he was able to see me and make sure I was ok. Gabe came back the next day which happened to be a Sunday and spent a good deal of the day with me. He made sure I was doing ok and that meant a lot to me. Gabe McWhinney is a great person and boss all in one. His dedication to his job and his employees is second to none. This is why I would like to nominate him for Outstanding Service. He deserves to win the Salute to Service Award and all that goes with it.
Submitted by Dan Danielson
Gabe was also nominated a second time:
Hi. I am Bob Oakes and a long time customer of Lena AG Center. I am 86 years old so I have seen a lot of Seed, Feed, Fertilizer and Grain elevators in my day starting with Brubaker Feed and Grain and Saunders Seed in the 1940’s in Tipp City, Ohio when I was in High School. When I returned from service in 1956 I desperately wanted to be a farmer and did most of my business with Farm Bureau. They had the elevator at Casstown, Ohio a few miles from where I farmed. During the sixties a man by the name of Walter Hanna worked for them and he did everything possible to try and help me succeed. He loved chickens and I had a chicken problem so he brought a debeaker out and helped me debeak several hundred leg horn hens. He was a man of integrity as well as helpfulness. You have a person in your organization that matches Walter. They both came from the same mold. Integrity and the willingness to help and understand. Gabe treats me as if I farm 5000 acres. I have very few tillable acres but that makes no difference to Gabe. He does his work with the thoughtfulness that anyone would admire. I know you have a lot of good employees but Gabe McWhinney should be one of those considered. If Gabe should win, my $250.00 prize is to be giving to Gabe’s favorite charity.
Submitted by Bob Oakes
We believe both of these nominations speak volumes about Gabe’s character and we’re quite proud to call him part of our team.
We offer a sincere thank you to all who nominated a Harvest Land employee. This program continues to grow annually because those of you who take advantage of offering praise to someone who truly deserves it.