Rural Missouri - November 2020 - 20

SEMO Electric linemen load
their truck ahead of a long day
of work. Below: A sign at a
Louisiana church echoed the
feelings of many residents.

NO LOVE FOR
HURRICANE LAURA
Busy year sees Missouri linemen offer hurricane help
by Jim McCarty | jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop

I

t's been a busy year for Missouri's Mutual Assistance
Program, which sends help to electric cooperatives that
find themselves in the path of severe storms. In May
electric cooperatives in the Ozarks needed reinforcements when strong winds knocked out power from the
Oklahoma border to the Mississippi River.
Then it was electric co-ops in Iowa asking for assistance
when tornadoes flattened power lines and
much of the state's corn crop.
But the loudest cry for help came from
Louisiana, where Hurricanes Laura and Delta
left entire cooperatives without a meter turning. By the time Hurricane Laura restoration
efforts wrapped up as the calendar turned
to October, Missouri would send three waves
of lineworkers totaling 359 men and their
equipment south to aid in the repairs. They
were part of a workforce of 1,200 additional
linemen from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi,
Missouri, Tennessee and Texas who assisted
with repairs.
A new round of assistance came just

20

RURAL MISSOURI | NOVEMBER 2020

weeks later as Hurricane Delta added insult to injury.
Right in the crosshairs of both hurricanes was Beauregard Electric Cooperative based in DeRidder, Louisiana.
When Laura passed through on Aug. 27, it left all 43,000
of the cooperative's members without power. That's where
Missouri's crews would focus their efforts.
"Hurricane Laura destroyed an infrastructure that
took over 80 years to build. Without the help of our sister
co-ops and contract crews, this restoration effort would
not be possible," says Beauregard's General
Manager Kevin Turner. "These guys were
away from their homes and family, working long days to help each of our 43,000
members. It's these kinds of people that help
bring hope back into our communities that
not only will we rebuild, but we will be better
than before."
Veteran linemen, used to seeing nature's
fury, were awed by the devastation caused by
Laura.
"Every line had something wrong with it,"
says Johnie Hendrix, a safety trainer for the
Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
who made two trips to the hurricane zone.



Rural Missouri - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2020

Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - Contents
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - 4
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - 5
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - 6
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - 7
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Rural Missouri - November 2020 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - November 2020 - Cover4
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