Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 9

photo above courtesy Seth Revelle, Black River Electric

Above left: Those who helped out in Florida
worked in swampy conditions. Above right:
As the sun sets on another day, Jeff Dimond uses
hand signals to communicate with fellow Barton
County Electric workers high above him. Left:
Laclede Electric's David Admire fights his way
through limbs from a broken pine tree in order
to pull fallen wire back into place. Below: TriCounty Electric lineman Ryan Bushnell works
from a bucket to remove the hardware from a
broken Flint Energies pole as the crew gets ready
to replace it with a new one.

more than 1.5 million members without power in the wake of the hurricane.
	 But	years	of	fighting	everything	from	ice	storms	to	hurricanes	has	taught	the	
nation's electric cooperatives to make use of one of the most important cooperative principles: Cooperation among Cooperatives. A week before the eye reached
land, daily conference calls took place between the statewide electric cooperatives in the storm's path and those out of harm's way.
Electric cooperatives as far away as South Dakota, Vermont and New Hampshire took part in the conference calls and offered assistance. Initially, Missouri
committed its resources to two electric cooperatives in South Carolina. But
when the storm changed its path for the last time, the crews were shifted to
Florida and Georgia.
The original plan was for crews to help two cooperatives in Georgia, Greystone
Power and Flint Energies. But damage was less severe than anticipated at
Greystone, so those crews never left Missouri. Farther south at Flint Energies,
tall pines caused most of the problems.
Six men from Barton County Electric Cooperative were part of the group
that helped out at Flint Energies. They left Lamar on the west side of Missouri
early in the morning expecting to stop in Tennessee for the night. Instead, those
involved elected to drive straight through to Georgia. For the Barton County
team that meant arriving around 3 a.m.
	 "We	ran	into	traffic	and	our	digger-derrick	doesn't	get	the	best	mileage,"	says	
Jeff Dimond, a veteran of four hurricane-assistance efforts. "Some of these
towns,	it's	hard	to	find	diesel	and	it's	hard	getting	in	and	out	with	the	trailer."
After a few hours of sleep, Jeff and the other Barton County Electric helpers
load	materials	and	head	into	the	fray.	They	find	broken	poles	and	tangled	wire	
at every jobsite.
"Everything that was broken had a transformer on it and two or three services	coming	out	of	that	transformer,"	he	says	from	a	location	south	of	Perry,	

Georgia. "Everything has been time consuming. This morning we walked into
this job here, nine or 10 spans of wire were down and trees in the way. So we
had to clear the road in. It's been good work. Hard work. Long days. But that's
what	you	run	into	when	you	come	to	a	hurricane."
The Barton County and Laclede crews were eating supper at a restaurant in
Warner Robins, Georgia, when a woman stopped at their table to say thanks for
their help. After she left, the restaurant manager told the group that the woman
had paid the bill - which totaled more than $400 - for everyone.
Southern hospitality is much on display as the Missouri linemen work.
"Everyone	 was	 super	 friendly,	 very	 nice,"	 says	 Seth,	 a	 veteran	 of	 Hurricane	
Katrina. "Often they went out of their way to offer us a bottle of water. Southern
hospitality	...		whatever	is	going	on,	they	keep	that	above	everything	else."
A two-man crew from Ralls County Electric, working near Montezuma, Georgia,	arrives	to	find	a	local	farmer	waiting	with	his	tractor.	The	man	clears	a	path	
so the crew's bucket truck can drive from pole to pole, hanging wire that was
brought down by falling limbs.
	 Working	long	days,	the	Georgia	helpers	have	power	fully	restored	five	days	
after the hurricane passed through, with a team from Tri-County Electric making	the	final	repair	long	after	dark.	The	Florida	crews	head	home	two	days	later.
From walking in chest-deep water to sawing through fallen palm trees, the
Missouri linemen learned some new skills during the all-out effort to restore
power.	"I've	been	at	it	28	years	and	it's	been	a	great	learning	experience	for	me,"	
Jeff says. "We've seen some things we don't have on our system, from the lines
and how they operate, the engineering side of it. I don't care how long you've
been	at	it,	I	believe	you	learn	something	everywhere	you	go."
They also made some new friends who vow to help out if Missouri's electric
cooperatives	ever	find	themselves	in	need.	"If	Missouri	needs	help,	we	on	the	
way,"	Matt	says.	"We're	20	hours	away	and	we'll	roll	with	it."
NOVEMBER 2017 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

9


http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2017

Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Intro
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 3
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 7
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 8
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 9
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 10
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 11
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 12
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 13
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 14
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 15
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 16
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 17
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 18
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 19
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 20
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 21
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 22
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 23
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 24
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 25
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 26
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 27
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 28
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 29
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 30
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 31
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 32
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 33
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 34
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 35
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 36
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 37
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - 38
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2017 - Cover4
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