Memorial fund established for family of United Ethanol employee

By Holly Jessen | April 23, 2013

A memorial fund has been established for the family of a 27-year-old ethanol plant employee that died April 19 after being trapped in a grain bin at United Ethanol LLC, a 48 MMgy plant in Milton, Wis.

Jerod Guell was working in a 595,000 bushel bin with an estimated 140,000 bushels of corn in it when he was trapped in a grain engulfment, United Ethanol said. The Milton Police Department was called to an industrial accident at the ethanol plant at about 10:20 a.m. April 19 and was on the scene for more than 12 hours before rescue efforts were ultimately unsuccessful and Guell’s body was recovered, the police department said in a statement. The city police department was assisted by 16 fire departments, a second law enforcement agency and more than 100 public safety personnel. The incident will be investigated by the Milton Police Department and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Mike Opdahl, the manager of ethanol operations for United Ethanol, said in a statement that he had no words to describe how sad he was over the death. “Our employees train and train to prevent things like this from happening, and it is hard to believe that it actually has,” he said.

Guell had worked at the plant for about seven years and has a wife and young son. A small group of employees notified his family about his death in person and the company is working to help them with resources for counseling, Opdahl said.

Contributions to the memorial fund can be mail to First Community Bank, attention Lisa McCue, P.O. Box 218, Milton, WI 53563-0218. Checks should be made payable to the Jerod Guell Memorial Fund. For more information, call the bank at 608-868-7644.

“Jerod Guell was an outstanding employee and will be truly missed by his friends at United Ethanol,” said David Cramer, United Ethanol president and CEO. “On behalf of all his coworkers, thank you for your support during this difficult time.”