Natural Gas Hero: Kellen Vetter

Kellen Vetter spotted people frantically waving down his We Energies emergency response truck on a highway in Dane County, Wisc. A blue SUV had rolled over into a ditch, and a 65-year old woman was trapped in the driver’s seat.

Vetter immediately pulled over and sprang into action. Running 50 feet into the woods to the vehicle, he got down on the ground and asked the trapped woman if she was hurt. Through her adrenaline, fear, and pain, she gasped, “I think my arm is severed.”

Vetter, who joined We Energies in 2021, is a former U.S. Army paratrooper. But it wasn’t his military training that kicked in at that moment; it was his  his training from We Energies. “We have a No. 1 rule that when we are responding to an emergency, we are protecting lives. That is drilled into your head day one,” he said.

He called out to ask if any of the bystanders had a belt. Another man near the car gave Vetter his. “I crawled down on my stomach, and I was talking to her … asking her what her name was,” said Vetter. “I told her to try to slow her breathing down because she kept saying she was really scared.”

Lying on broken glass and twisted metal, Vetter tightened the homemade tourniquet on the woman’s left arm. “It’s going to hurt – what I’m about to do – but it’s going to help you,” he warned her. Vetter then held her right hand, doing his best to keep her calm until Med Flight arrived. “She was telling me stuff like, ‘I don’t want to die,’ and I’m like, ‘You’re not going to die,’ and ‘I’m going to stay here as long as I have to.’”

According to trauma experts, in the case of severe bleeding, every minute counts. Vetter’s actions are credited with helping to save the woman’s life. “I really believe anyone from my work group would have done the same thing,” he said. “We’re in the business of gas, but at the same time, we’re providing service to people. You’re helping better their lives. You’re really there to help people have a life, so that was kind of what I did when I showed up.”

Natural gas utilities like We Energies, which provides energy to 1.2 million Wisconsin customers, are committed to protecting the communities they serve. To provide the best service, utilities know that natural gas employees must be prepared for any emergency they might face. We are proud to work alongside people like Kellen Vetter, who exemplify that commitment every day. We invite you to follow our Fueling Our Communities program as we continue to highlight everyday natural gas heroes like Kellen Vetter.