By Chandler Hines
Alabama Political Reporter
I had the honor of attending the Alabama Lineman Appreciation Day at Dixie Electric Cooperative on Monday. It was a good morning to recognize these people around the state that make our lives easier. Hosted by the Energy Institute of Alabama, a crowd of just under 100 people gathered to pay tribute to the men and women who work tirelessly to keep our power on.
Seth Hammett, Chairman of the Energy Institute of Alabama, introduced several speakers and linemen, stating “we are going to do what we should do everyday and that is to thank our journeymen linemen, who are all here with us today, for what you do for us.”
Twinkle Cavanaugh, President of the Alabama Public Service Commission, spoke first, pointing out the risks and sacrifices that are made by families, saying “thank you to your families, to your children, to your wife, and all the people that are affected when you have to leave home to keep the power on.”
Commissioner of the Alabama Public Service Commission, Jeremy Oden pointed out that nobody really thinks about the power until it’s not there. “We want to thank you for that risk you take for putting your life out there and getting our power back on.”
Director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Art Faulkner spoke about the critical infrastructure that needs to be protected in order to recover from statewide disasters. We need to learn more about the “vulnerabilities of the power grid in this country, that impact emergency managers being able to assist and coordinate emergency response and being able to recover from disasters.”
David Hammock, journeyman lineman from Baldwin EMC, spoke of the sacrifices the families of linemen make, but also the highlights of the job. They’re able to help families that are trying to stay warm and safe. He says working with the other linemen is like a family. “We’re our brother’s keepers.”
Eric Turner, Safety Specialist with Alabama Rural Electric Association, spoke about helping their communities with the safety aspects they’ve learned. He’s proud that not only are they linemen, but volunteers at church and as coaches.
The next time you see a lineman on your street, stop and give thanks because they’re working to make your life more comfortable.