A 21-year veteran of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is the April State Employee of the Month.
Rick Gann lives in Callo in Macon County.
Gann responded Feb. 7 to a tractor-trailer accident north of St. Joseph on I-29. That meant he traveled 140 miles one way.
The accident resulted in two fatalities and involved the release of diesel fuel and household health and beauty products into a waterway. Gann spent the day coordinating with first responders, overseeing the clean-up efforts, and making sure the incident was stabilized before clearing the scene and returning home.
As he was returning home that day, Gann came upon another accident on U.S. 36 in rural Caldwell County involving a private vehicle and a tractor-trailer. He stopped to assist.
A bystander from out of state had also stopped and called 911. Not knowing how to describe where the accident was located, Gann took the bystander's phone to talk with the 911 operator and found the call had been routed to the wrong county dispatch. The dispatcher then transferred Gann to the Missouri Highway Patrol's Troop H in St. Joseph, and he was able to direct law enforcement and emergency personnel to the scene.
While waiting for help, Gann had the bystander keep the private vehicle driver safe. With the emergency response lights already on, Gann repositioned the DNR vehicle he was driving to one lane to alert oncoming drivers to slow down. He also assisted in clearing debris from the highway.
Gann got supplies from his vehicle to stem the flow of diesel fuel from the tractor-trailer's fuel tank and laid down absorbent materials to reduce the slick conditions on the highway.
Gann's supervisors noted in his time with the department he has responded to more than 350 hazardous materials incidents and has been active with local fire services, emergency management directors, law enforcement and other emergency response officials throughout northeastern Missouri.