BELL ATLANTIC EMPLOYEES PERFORM HEROICALLY
DURING THE STORM OF THE CENTURY
The World Ground To A Halt, But The Telephone System
Newark, N.J. -- Earlier this week, nearly three feet of snow
transformed some of the nation's busiest cities into ghost towns.
Streets were deserted. Undelivered goods piled up on shipping docks,
and jets stood idle on drift-laden runways.
And, as it completes millions of calls today during yet another snow
storm, Bell Atlantic doesn't stand still when the rest of the world
During Round One of the Great Blizzard of '96 the company carried
nearly 1 billion calls over three days, and we completed 97 percent of
them on the first try.
"We're proud our performance, and prouder still of the fact that our
customers took us for granted during The Blizzard of '96," said Ed
Sproat, president of Bell Atlantic Network Operations. "They counted
on us to be up and running, and we were."
"We helped the stranded find lodging, the isolated find company and
the sick find medical assistance. That's what Bell Atlantic does
every day -- even under three feet of snow," Sproat said.
Bell Atlantic succeeded under adverse conditions because of people
like Frank Bressner, a Delaware switching equipment technician with 30
years of service. Bressner walked six miles through thigh-high snow
and stinging wind to get to work.
Operator Brenda Miller trudged 26 blocks through the empty streets of
Queens to catch a train to the Journal Square call completion center
in Jersey City, N.J.
Miller's colleague in Jersey City, Annie Litch, opened her home to
fellow operators who couldn't navigate the snowy streets back to
Eric Heicklen, a tenacious customer support specialist in Allentown,
Pa., drove 20 miles on steep, slick roads to reach the Lehigh Valley
Residential Sales and Services Center.
On the way, his car collided with another car, but he limped the
wounded vehicle into the center, where he found the entrance
completely covered with snow. Heicklen and a colleague fought drifts
to a loading dock in the back of the building and dug a 10-foot path
so their colleagues could get to work.
In Roanoke, Va., four trainees showed up Saturday for their first day
of instruction at a residential sales and services center, only to
find themselves stuck in a short-handed office. They went right to
work handling customer service orders.
Alicia Smith, a service assistant in Berlin, N.J., stepped in to fill
an empty manager's chair. From Sunday morning until early Tuesday
morning, Smith ran an office that usually accommodates 40 operators
with a mere 14.
The police department in Cranford, N.J. thought Smith did a stellar
job. A department dispatcher said Smith "bent over backwards"
police complete a call to a company repair office.
Technician Rick Jacobus walked 4.2 miles from his home in Nutley, N.J.
to a network operations center in Montclair. He left home at 7 a.m.,
and would have left earlier if his wife had let him. She didn't want
him wandering through a blizzard in the dark.
Fred Lake, a network technician in Sussex County, Del., was driving
to a company office at the height of the storm on Sunday night. He
came across a car stuck in a snow drift and stopped to help.
The car's elderly driver had ventured out to bring kerosene back to
members of his family, who were waiting at home without electricity or
heat. Lake drove the man and his kerosene safely to their
These stories represent a small sampling of heroic employee efforts on
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
"It's gratifying to see so many of our people showing so much
dedication to our customers that we can't even try to list every
instance of selfless service," Sproat said. "These are the
put heart in The Heart of Communications."
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communications
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
for more information, contact: