Jack’s Journal: Lineman Appreciation Day

When the lights are on, all is well. When they go off, not so much.  Today, April 11th is Lineman Appreciation Day. 

In recent months, we’ve had two big storms and each time line crews have fanned out to get the power back on. 

Dustin Ockert, or D.O. as he is known to his buddies, has been at this 10 years and he’s done it before. The lights go out and he heads out in the dark.

“More than once, yep.  It’s hard for me, because I have to leave my wife and kids at home with no power and I’m out to restore the power.  So I’m doing my job, and they are struggling at home,” explains Dustin, Cherryland Electric.

On a routine day, lineman do maintenance work and new installs.  Things get exciting when the power goes down.  Many times the weather is not at its best.

“Sometimes it’s rough, it gets windy up there, cold up there.  It’s hot up there sometimes.  But it’s exhilarating at the same time,” says Dustin.

Working with lines, carrying 72,000 volts, you have to be well trained and extremely careful.  You have to trust the members of your crew and you have to pay attention. I noticed how difficult it was to spot the wires with a gray sky and tree branches everywhere.  The gloves they wear are heavy rubber and sometimes the tasks are delicate.  Patience and skill are the backbone of a journey lineman.  Dustin says the job is rewarding, he knows the public is counting on him, and linemen don’t take that lightly.

“It’s just get out there, things are usually dark when we get there.  When you leave the lights are on, that’s the glory of our job. Taking care of members and getting the lights back on,” explains Dustin.

I asked when you are working on lines, the goal is to get the lights back on, what should folks do?

And with the confidence of a professional he said, “Stand back and watch it happen.”

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