Angus Macdonald, The Spirit of Service

It was March 1888 and the “Great Blizzard of ‘88”—also known as the “Great White Hurricane”—was pummeling the northeast US with up to 50 inches of snow and fierce blowing winds. People were trapped in their houses for days, railroad service was stalled and a new phone line between New York and Boston was down in places, threatening to completely cut off vital communications between New York and Boston.

Angus Macdonald was a 23-year-old AT&T lineman. He was an eager young employee who was willing to do whatever it took to do his important job of keeping the phone service up and running. He and his crew strapped on snowshoes and patrolled the line during the storm, stopping to repair any downed portions they came across. They also stumbled upon a stalled train and were able to secure food and drink for the hungry passengers, who had been stuck there for two days. Afterwards, AT&T commissioned a painting of Angus to honor the commitment of this young man and his crew. The piece was entitled “The Spirit of Service” and it symbolizes the service ethic of telephone workers throughout the years.

The Pioneers love this painting as it so aptly embodies the group’s mission, vision and values. Pioneers has created a strong association with this image. Angus Macdonald was one of the first members of the Telephone Pioneers. He retired in 1934 but remained active in Pioneering.