AL Lineman Appreciation Day: Thank you for keeping electricity flowing
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Monday is Alabama's Lineman Appreciation Day. It's a day to recognize those who work on the power lines that provide electricity to our homes. Lineman
Appreciation Day was designated as the first Monday in June by the Alabama Legislature in 2014.
"They are responsible for construction and for maintenance of power lines that run from generating facilities to your house," explained Mike Jordan, external affairs manager, Alabama Power Company, Southern Division. "They do an incredible job every day, not only in blue sky weather but also when the clouds are ugly and trees fall and things happen, you know the linemen are always there.
There are more than 2,000 linemen who work for power companies and cooperatives in Alabama and help keep the lights on it for more than 1 million Alabamians.
"Generally, day-to-day, we're going to build new lines to our customers, we also do maintenance on our lines whether it be pole change outs with hazards or notices we'll go out and fix them," Chris Nidaya, a lineman with Troy Utilities. "And we also deal with power outages during the day, we'll go catch those and fix those problems as well."
A Lineman's job has been ranked as one of the most dangerous jobs out there. Safety is the first priority for electric linemen. They undergo countless hours of training and refresher courses to make sure no one is hurt on the job.
"It's pretty dangerous, especially with storm restoration, and changing out poles. We have to keep it energized when we change out poles," Chris Sanders described. He's a construction foreman with South Alabama Electric Cooperative. "We wear rubber sleeves and rubber gloves, and we want everyone to go home the way they came to work and see their family."
These workers are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are sometimes called to work far from home. They are often "first responders" when a disaster strikes. Alabama lineman have been called to restore power after natural disasters from as far away as New England, Louisiana, South Carolina and even to other countries including places like Haiti in Guatemala.
"Being on call is kind of challenging, especially when it takes you away from your family," said Lamarious Whetstone, a lineman for Alabama Power Company, but he doesn't mind the challenge. "For me it's kind of rewarding, being able to help people and the appreciation that you get."
Now, there's a year-round way to show appreciation for Alabama's linemen.
"We're unveiling a new specialty tag, 'Thank a Lineman' tag" a way to recognize the hard work they do every day," Jordan announced. "All of the proceeds for that tag go into a 501c3 charity, and then those dollars are distributed to different charities that benefit linemen, their families, and others.
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