Lending a hand

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At 5 a.m. on Sunday, August 30, seventeen crewmen, left the Oconee co-op office to head to Jeff Davis Electric Cooperative in  Louisiana to assist in putting together a system that was destroyed when Hurricane Laura came on shore.  These crews were armed with their equipment, trucks and trailers; but headed into a work situation that presented challenges far different from working outages here in South Carolina.  Brian Roper, Manager of Contract Services was part of that team and had experienced first-hand working in areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina.  In a recent phone interview, Brian says he feels good about the work they’re doing.  “The devastation here is unimaginable.  When we first arrived we worked on a circuit out of a substation that was similar to what we have at home.  But this second week we’ve been replacing poles along the marsh.  We hear about the storm surge but we’ve seen the effects of it this week.  While the poles we’re replacing are on the side of the road, they’re under a foot or more of water.  Houses along the marsh are built on stilts.  The stilts are here but the houses are gone—blown away.”  The four crews from Blue Ridge along with a crew from Horry replaced 110 poles in three days—quite a feat but there is still so much work to be done. 

A second wave of construction crews left Friday morning, September 11, headed to Louisiana to relieve the ones there now, and will spend the next couple of weeks working to restore power to the thousands that are still without.  In Brian’s words, “The real heroes are the people helping these folks put their lives back together.  We’ve helped make a difference here but there is still so much to be done.”  Our prayers go with these guys and go out to the people of Louisiana.