The American Cable Association salutes Cable ONE President and CEO and ACA board member Tom Might on receiving the 2009 President's Award from the Association of Cable Communicators at an Oct. 26 dinner in Denver recognizing his leadership following the Hurricane Katrina disaster that struck the Gulf Coast region in 2005.
"The ACA is very pleased that ACC's top honor went to Tom Might, who richly deserved the accolade for the way the Cable ONE team, under Tom's steady leadership, responded to the crisis after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, taking many lives, destroying homes and leaving Cable ONE without much of a business," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "Under Tom's careful and caring direction, Cable ONE put the interests of its workers and customers first under disastrous circumstances."
The President's Award recognizes leaders who through their guidance and support have advanced the role of communications and public affairs in the cable industry. The award, selected by the ACC president and approved by the ACC board, honors those individuals who have developed and implemented communications and public affairs initiatives within their companies as well as throughout the cable industry.
In his acceptance speech, Might recounted in words and photos he took with his wife the gripping story of how Cable ONE dealt with the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Katrina, which dumped 30-foot waves on the 65-mile Mississippi coastline where Cable ONE serves 95% of the homes.
"One-third of Cable ONE's local workforce was homeless and one-third faced major reconstruction," Might recalled. "Most of our cable plant was missing or in tatters."
Taking immediate charge, Might rushed in food, gas, cash, and medicine to help dislocated Cable ONE workers. Cable ONE employees located safely beyond the footprint of the storm helped out by driving in camper trailers to serve as temporary shelter for Cable ONE colleagues on the Gulf Coast who had lost their homes.
In all, Cable ONE spent $70 million and needed six months to finish the job.
Might concluded his remarks by highlighting the heroic deeds of Cable ONE's Biloxi marketing manager, Butch Henley, who jumped from the steps of his own home at the height of the hurricane to rescue four people who were caught in debris-covered sea water and were barely alive.
"Sadly, he could not free two other bodies trapped in the debris and they perished," Might said.
Henley, invited by Might to sit at his table for the award ceremony, received a standing ovation from the 200 cable industry communications executives in attendance.
"Leading Cable ONE through the aftermath of Katrina was the most difficult challenge of my life, but as you can see, I had lots of help," Might said.