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
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
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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