Northwestern Energy employee recognized with a Life-Saving Award

NorthWestern Energy gas technician Tim MacDonald turned right on Nevada Avenue when leaving the office one cold day in January 2023, even though he always turns left. The rare right-handed turn likely saved the life of an elderly gentleman.

Wednesday, during an all-company safety meeting, leaders presented MacDonald, a three-year employee with NorthWestern Energy, with the MEA Energy Association Life Sustaining Award for the heroic actions he made to save the life of 82-year-old George Piper. Last January, Piper took a fall just as MacDonald came around the corner in his NorthWestern Energy vehicle. MacDonald watched him stop, then fall straight back. Though it was icy, it didn’t seem he’d slipped. MacDonald knew something was wrong.

MacDonald turned on the flashers and yellow beacon on his truck and jumped out to find Piper incoherent. When he finally got Piper to speak, he called 911 and gave their location. While they waited for first responders, MacDonald slipped his sweatshirt under Piper’s head, covered the man with his jacket and reminded him that help was on the way.

Later, MacDonald found out Piper’s niece is Tricia Davis, fellow NorthWestern Energy employee and manager of customer interactions.

“If it wasn’t for Tim seeing the fall happen, I’m not sure George would be here today,” Davis said.

During the awards ceremony on Wednesday, Piper was able to see MacDonald face-to-face for the first time and give him a hug, along with kind words for his help on that cold day.

“Tim’s an example of someone who looks out for people in the community, Piper said. “It’s just part of humanity. And well, NorthWestern has to be grateful that they have employees like that.”

As for MacDonald, who is a gas meter technician for NorthWestern’s renewable natural gas sites, helping others comes naturally and is just part of the job.

“I wasn’t looking for any recognition or anything,” MacDonald said. “I didn’t even think, I just reacted. In my 30s, I had spinal meningitis, and was on my death bed. I am just paying it forward. My life was spared so that I can pay it forward and help save someone else’s life.”