Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
Rescuing a parachutist dangling in a tree is not a normal occurrence for most people, but that is just what happened to Victor Vana, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative journeyman lineman, on Saturday, January 23.
“I was just coming off another job when I got a call from the [Bluebonnet] Control Center asking me to rescue a person in a parachute out of a tree,” Vana said. “I radioed back and asked, ‘are you pulling my leg?’”
It was no joke.
Vana responded and rescued not one, but two, Texas Army National Guard paratroopers blown off course from their designated landing site at Camp Swift just north of Bastrop. The paratroopers landed in different trees, each about 30 to 40 feet above the ground.
This was the first time in his 14- year career at Bluebonnet that Vana was called to rescue anyone, but his 16 years experience as a volunteer fireman for the Weimar Fire Department came in handy. As fate would have it, Vana was driving a truck with a larger twoperson bucket that aided in the rescue. But,Vana says he would have gotten the paratroopers out of the trees “no matter what.”
Bastrop Fire Department Chief Henry Perry awarded Vana with a plaque, recognizing his contribution in the successful rescue. This is only the third or fourth such award Perry can recall in the last 15 years.
“We had our dispatcher make the call, but we were unsure if we would get the bucket truck,” Perry said. “But Bluebonnet came through for us.”
The recue exemplified Bluebonnet’s commitment to the communities it serves.
“This event was a classic example of how cooperation between agencies can result in first rate public service and safety for the citizens of Bastrop County,” said Ronnie McDonald, Bastrop County Judge. “I commend the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative employees for a quick and professional response and as always, I am proud of the men and women that volunteer their time as firefighters. All those that had a part in this rescue are true heroes.”