Have you hugged your lineman today?


duane highleyWho would work 16-hour days, outdoors in the worst of weather, braving wind, rain, snow and ice, sacrificing their holidays and weekends to help others, all while working inches from dangerous energized electrical conductors?

Your electric cooperative’s power line worker, that’s who.

Linemen from all across Arkansas work every day to keep your lights on. Safety is job one, with reliability a close second. When the lights go out, they spring into action, restoring your power as quickly as it can be safely done.

Linemen share a common purpose — a desire to provide their friends and neighbors with electrical power as close to 24/7/365 as they can get. They love it when they see the lights come back on, knowing that someone’s life just got a lot easier. One lineman recently told me the story of restoring power to a house after dark. When the lights came on, he could see the children of the house through their living room window, jumping up and down with excitement. That image made his day.

When disaster strikes outside of Arkansas, they are ready to help. Arkansas line workers even assisted in the restoration of power in New York following Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The next time you see linemen working along the road, help them out by giving them some extra space. This isn’t just a request; it’s the law. A bill passed in 2013 requires motorists to move over to the farthest lane possible or slow down when passing a utility truck on the side of the road, just like you would for a police car or emergency vehicle.

April 11 is National Lineman Appreciation Day. On this day, if you see line workers, let them know you care. You can even tell them you love them for what they do. They don’t seek your recognition, but they will appreciate it. In my opinion, they are selfless American heroes, sacrificing every day to serve you, the cooperative member.

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