A trio of technicians took on and triumphed over a massive outage in Akron, Ohio, last January, earning them Whitacre Awards, our company's highest honor.

Technician Duane Hicks won the 2015 Whitacre for his leadership in fighting frozen temperatures, ruined equipment and floods he said created the "perfect storm" of disasters. Millions of customers lost service.

"When I drove up to the central office, it was pitch dark," Duane said. "I followed the generator cord in to where everybody was. I knew from my background that it was all interconnected and affected: 911 service, long distance, Internet for U-verse, DSL … AT&T wireless comes from that office. I knew they needed help badly and I live for this kind of thing."

Duane's helpful heroics were aided by Charles "Tom" Todd and Mike Young, also technicians. They earned Whitacre honorable mentions.