High school essay honors Northern Plains Electric lineman


A high school senior from Maddock, ND, recently wrote a scholarship essay to explain that commitment to community is alive, thanks to people like Doyle Schwanke, Northern Plains Electric lineman.

April 11 was National Lineman Appreciation Day, and one area high school student’s essay explains the essential role one of her local linemen plays in keeping the lights on.

Kristi Medalen, a senior from Maddock, ND, recently wrote a scholarship essay to explain how commitment to community is alive at her local electric cooperative.

The answer was easy: commitment to community is alive because of people like Doyle Schwanke.

For the past 19 years Schwanke has served as a lineman for Northern Plains Electric, based out of Carrington, ND, and Cando, ND. He also happens to be Medalen’s former volleyball coach.

Her essay was featured at Northern Plains’ annual meeting April 5 in Maddock.


Northern Plains Electric surprised Schwanke with the essay during the cooperative’s annual meeting on April 5.

In her essay, Medalen goes on to explain how Schwanke effectively balanced his coaching duties in the wake of power outages. She continues with an example below.

“I distinctly remember one afternoon our coach came to the school a little before we were supposed to be dismissed and met with us players. He gave us a little layout of what we were supposed to do in practice because there was a tornado that took out powerlines earlier that day that needed to be tended to. So he had arranged for his wife to drive us to Leeds (because we co-op sports with them) and “run” practice for him as he needed to be elsewhere.

If that is not commitment I don’t know what is. He figured out what to do with his volleyball team so he could tend to his job on his off hours because the community needed his help. That is just one time I wanted to share with you to prove how I know that Northern Plains Electric is committed to do their job and serve their community. Something I want to someday do as a pharmacist. I want to be committed to a small town and work for them at all times and for all different situations.”

Read the full essay here: Doyle-Schwanke-Essay

Northern Plains surprised Schwanke with the essay during its annual meeting. He couldn’t help but smile after hearing Medalen’s kind words.

“I didn’t even know anybody noticed things like that,” Schwanke says. “I just did what I had to do to get the job done.”

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