Linemen from a dozen electric companies and cooperatives from across the state gathered on Monday to celebrate Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day, hosted by the Energy Institute of Alabama at Dixie Electric Cooperative in Montgomery.
“We’re doing something today that we need to do every day and that is tell our linemen how much we appreciate what they do,” said Seth Hammett, EIA Chairman and PowerSouth Vice President of Business Development.
Joining Hammett in honoring the linemen at the luncheon was Alabama Public Service Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh and Commissioner Jeremy Oden and Alabama Emergency Management Director Art Faulkner. Baldwin EMC lineman David Hammock and Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives Safety Specialist Eric Turner, a former lineman, also addressed the crowd.
“I’m with my co-workers more than I am my family sometimes,” Hammock said. “We are like a family. We watch each other’s backs and we are our brothers’ keepers. We also like to commend our families for giving up a lot for us to do our jobs.”
Cavanaugh saluted the linemen, recalling how as a little girl she wished she had a pair of those “fancy shoes they put on that let them climb the poles so quickly.” Now, as PSC president, she told the workers on hand to remember, “Those guys and women in the fancy offices in management at your companies can’t do what you do.”
Oden commended the linemen for cooperating when times are difficult after storms strike. “I love the way you work together. You are the front lines. Thank you for the risks you take getting our power back on.”
Faulkner, who has been EMA director since 2011, said when a disaster strikes in the state, he has a lineman friend he relies on to gauge the severity of the crisis. “I use my ‘Lineman Index,’” he said. “I call my lineman friend and if he’s enjoying his day in his backyard, I know all is ‘green.’ If I call and I can barely hear him over the sound of his truck, I know he’s on the way to help and I know to go to ‘yellow alert.’ If I call and he doesn’t answer, I know it’s ‘red alert,’ because he is up in his truck helping his fellow linemen and he doesn’t have time to talk to me.”
Lineman Appreciation Day was designated as the first Monday in June by the Alabama Legislature in 2014. There are more than 2,000 linemen working for the companies represented by the Energy Institute of Alabama: Alabama Power, PowerSouth, Electric Cities, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the electric cooperatives that are members of the Alabama Rural Electric Association and the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority.