Lineman Appreciation Day: Who Do You Appreciate?

Lineman Appreciation Day: Who Do You Appreciate?

Lineman Appreciation Day: Who Do You Appreciate?

So, as I was sitting on my couch typing away early Monday morning, my wife told me to turn on the news. The local weatherman was excitedly describing two distinct colors a few miles west of Summerville and explaining that what we were seeing was indeed a tornado. Now, we were unfortunate enough to experience this once before while living in Pennsylvania, but this was our first South Carolina tornado. It’s different. You all don’t have basements.

As the man on the screen was increasing his intensity and showing the path of our impending doom, we started getting a little nervous. Closer and closer it approached and the wind and rain outside our window was really picking up. All residents of Summerville were advised to immediately take cover in the most inside room of the home. The play-by-play had us mesmerized, and it was hard to take our eyes off the screen, when all the sudden – darkness.

We were already a little freaked out and on the edge of our seats, and now we had zero information. We don’t even have cell service where we are, so there was nothing. As we sat in the bathroom helplessly awaiting our fate, I found myself obsessing on one thing – how much we depend on our power. I know, it’s silly, the wind was howling, the windows were rattling, and I was sitting on the tub worrying about not being connected. Now this probably says more about me than I care to admit, but it is what it is.

The storm passed and we were left unscathed. Knowing first-hand the damage tornadoes can do, I realize we were very lucky. Some of the images I’ve seen after this storm remind me of the damage to our home and neighborhood back in Greensburg in 2011, and my heart sincerely goes out to those impacted. That said, it’s strange where your mind goes during stressful and uncertain times, and my mind went more to whether or not I had power than the potential devastation unfolding around me.

If the past few weeks have shown us anything, it’s how much we rely on our electricity. Staying at home is hard enough, now imagine doing it with no power. Maybe you were like me and without it for a few hours after the storm hit. Nothing to do but stare at the walls and wait. Well, if it weren’t for utility workers - linemen, dispatchers, generation techs, etc. - that brief time without power would be all the time.

Imagine how much more difficult it would be during this stay-at-home order if you couldn’t rely on electricity. We’re more aware than ever that it’s a necessity and it’s brought to you by utility workers, and the ones you normally see in person are linemen.

The job isn’t easy either. It’s physically and mentally demanding. They work in high-stress situations daily and do so while strictly following protocols to ensure the safety of themselves, their fellow workers, and us. They’re some of the first to say goodbye to their families when a storm hits, and many times, the last to get home. They sacrifice holidays, birthdays, and countless other family events to make sure we have the power we need to enjoy those times ourselves.

This Saturday, April 18, is National Lineman Appreciation Day. The next time you see a lineman, tell him how much your power means to you and how much you appreciate all he does to keep it flowing. And, the next time you do lose power, show your appreciation by being patient. After a storm, they’re typically working 16-hour shifts individually, with crews working 24 hours a day until everyone is up and running. Something as small as a “thank you” can go a long way. Just make sure to do it from a safe distance!

If you’d like to send a thank you to our linemen, click here and leave them a message, or use the hashtag #linemanappreciationday on social media to show your support.

Author Jeff Straight

Jeff Straight

As a 15-year veteran of the utility industry, Jeff began his career as a call taker. Those countless hours of listening to customer concerns helped mold him into the communications professional he is today. He grew up in West Virginia and graduated from his hometown college, Fairmont State, in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. He is a drummer of 30 years and enjoys entertaining people from the stage as well as the keyboard.