I Spy Someone making a difference.
I Spy: Steven Thompson’s inner fire puts out a real oneby Alexandra Morris
For Steven Thompson, a typical Tuesday includes a walk over to Coastal Carolina University’s HTC Center. He has made this a weekly routine – to ensure the heating and air conditioning systems are working correctly. As a knowledgeable heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) technician, Thompson knows how things can go wrong during the day. But after his daily inspection, he could not anticipate what would happen next.
A Conway waste management truck was stopped, and the driver was oblivious to the disaster ensuing on the back of it. Thompson acted quickly – “There are flames rising from the back of your truck,” he told him. “I think there’s a fire near your exhaust.” Thompson went for the fire extinguisher he keeps on the back of his vehicle to combat the four-foot flames. The fire could have quickly become unmanageable had Thompson not been alert.
“I know the kind of person Steven is,” says Jerry McVeigh, who nominated Thompson for “I Spy.” “He’s one who goes above and beyond, all the time.”
“The punch of the story is that the driver had no idea that fire was there,” says McVeigh. “Imagine what would have happened. When I heard this story during our lunch break, I realized what a hero Steven was.”
McVeigh and Thompson met three years ago when McVeigh began working at CCU as an alarm technician. They have been good friends ever since.
Thompson has been at CCU for the past 11 years and he says this job works well with his lifestyle. “I wanted to spend more time with my family,” he says. “This job was able to give that to me.”
Before landing at CCU, Thompson had various HVAC jobs around Myrtle Beach. He’s been in the area for the past 30 years, but he originates from West Virginia.
“I really like to bowl in my spare time,” he says. “My son plays the electric guitar in a rock band, and I like to help him. I’m somewhat of a ‘roadie.’”
His coworker, McVeigh, isn’t the only one who knows about Thompson’s strong character. His supervisor, Kerry Lord, says he’s one of the best. “He does a good job,” says Lord. “He’s conscientious, he cares, and he’s safe. Those are valuable qualities for our school community. We all want to take care of the people here, and Steven’s actions are a testament to that.”
McVeigh emphasizes, “He just doesn’t blow things off.”
Perhaps he doesn’t, but his fire extinguisher sure did.
“I Spy” is an employee recognition program of the Office of Training and Development whereby staff and faculty nominate someone for extraordinary service.