Trico Electric Lineman Receives Hometown Hero Award

Jaime Esparza and Omar Fernandez served in the military together. Omar is a Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard.

Jaime Esparza and Omar Fernandez served in the military together. Omar is a Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard.

Monica Pugno

Executive Director of the Sahuarita Food Bank (SFB), Carlos Valles, said Trico Electric Cooperative Lineman, Jaime Esparza “went above and beyond in getting us the required transformer” for a new 40-foot cold storage container needed to serve the increased demand from the community.

“Jaime also recommended we apply for a grant to help offset the costs for the electrical work,” Carlos said. “I never expected anything beyond some advice on various ways we could get our new cooler connected to the power grid. Thank you, Jaime!”

For his kindness, Jaime was awarded the Hometown Hero award by Koppers Utility & Industrial Products—the largest American-owned provider of wood utility poles. The purpose of the award is to recognize cooperative employees from across the nation who have made a substantial difference in their business and/or their community by going the extra mile to help others. Each month Koppers will recognize one co-op employee and provide them with a $500 contribution to the charity of their choice. Jaime plans to donate the money to the Sahuarita Food Bank.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Jaime said. “This award has motivated me to go on and do more. We all have to strive and help out each other.”

Jaime’s friend Omar Fernandez, a Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard, said Jaime is “a prime example of excellence in all he does.”

“He is a three-time veteran. He served in the Army, Marines, and Air Force,” Omar said. “A lot of people don’t know about this, but he served in Black Hawk Down (The Battle of Mogadishu) in Somalia. He is a great, great human being.”

Jaime got involved with the project when Omar asked him for feedback regarding the electrical for the storage container. Jaime noticed the voltage was different on the unit. Jaime’s supervisor Scott Rast also deserves credit, as well as Trico’s designers and warehouse employees. This was truly a team effort.

“Jaime is very deserving of this award,” Trico CEO and GM Vin Nitido said. “He is a very humble guy. He exemplifies cooperative values.”

At the May board meeting, the Trico Board approved a grant of $5,000 to cover the cost of the upgrade and to provide funds to go toward SFB’s operations.

“Words cannot express how grateful we are to Jaime and everyone at Trico,” Carlos said. “Jaime is an incredible employee; he has a military background and is the first vet I have met that is retired from three branches of the military. In the military, you are taught to go above and beyond, and Jaime has done that for the Sahuarita Food Bank. He is just a good guy. On his days off he was here working, and he met with inspectors to make sure everything was safe and running efficiently.”