Love electricity? Thank a lineman this April 18

CoServ Lineman Bryce Clopton installs new power lines for the Big Sky developement in Ponder. Photo by NICHOLAS SAKELARIS
CoServ Lineman Bryce Clopton installs new power lines for the Big Sky developement in Ponder. Photo by NICHOLAS SAKELARIS

THE ROADS WERE CAKED IN ICE, snow was falling and windchills dipped into the single digits when CoServ Electric Lineman Jared Day received a notification about a power outage.

In the wee hours of the morning of February 3, when most people were snuggled in bed, he jumped into his four-wheel drive truck to respond.

“It was pretty slick. It had been snowing for a couple hours before that,” Jared said. “We passed a couple cars on the way there that had run into the median. Emergency vehicles were out trying to help them.”

His truck couldn’t reach the power line, though – he’d have to get out and walk the line.

“We walked through the woods and through the snow,” Jared said. “The trees were frozen and the ice weighed the limbs down so they got into the line.”

CoServ linemen restored power to the affected Members within three hours while battling dangerous roads and freezing temperatures before the sun even came up.

For CoServ’s linemen crews, it’s just another day but their hard work, dedication and toughness never goes unnoticed.

“Thank you to all who work for us, especially in this kind of weather. Be safe, linemen,” said Theresa Gladys, a CoServ Member who lives in Krum.

CoServ received a flood of encouraging messages from Theresa and others during the winter storm on social media and we want to thank everyone who took the time to do that. On April 18, we will recognize National Lineman Appreciation Day where we honor those who work every day to ensure we have safe and reliable electricity.

CoServ linemen’s dedication extends not just to our Members but also to other electric cooperatives when we provide mutual aid after natural disasters. CoServ sent two waves of linemen to Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida last September.

Jared was part of the first wave of crews. He worked 16-hour days in the grueling heat replacing broken poles, hanging new wires and even taking a barge to a hard-to-reach area. He was away from his wife for 14 days.

What kept him going?

“The gratification of getting people’s power back on,” Jared said. “People were going days without power so it was nice to be able to turn the power back on.”

The Washington St. Tammany Electric Cooperative (WSTEC) Members kept the linemen well fed with jambalaya, red beans and rice and other meals while they were there to show their appreciation.

WSTEC member Stacy Molero reached out to CoServ on Facebook to personally thank our crews for their hard work.

“When I saw the destruction the day after the storm, I expected it to take months for power to be restored,” Stacy said. “I took a ride down [Highway] 41 on my way to Slidell today and could not believe the amount of infrastructure that has been restored. You have an amazing team!”

WSTEC Member Kerri Singletary, whose brother happens to work for CoServ gas, posted photos and videos on Facebook of CoServ crews working near her home.

“Thanks, CoServ for coming all this way and volunteering your services to help us get back on our feet again,” Kerri said. “Our power came back on yesterday.”

CoServ Operations Manager Bret Turnbow said CoServ’s training, strong work ethic and dedication to safety set our linemen apart and the difference is clear when responding to mutual aid situations.

“There’s not a guy here I wouldn’t send on one. They’re all ready to go,” Bret said. “They know what they’re doing. The company backs us 100 percent. We take our safety, knowledge and years of training with us wherever we may be sent and apply it to make sure our guys return home to their family as well as the CoServ family.”