Ocala Utility Workers Turning on the Lights Up North
Eight ocala utility workers are back home from Long Island just in time for Thanksgiving. They were helping victims of super storm Sandy.
On November 2, 2012 these men picked up their gear, jumped in their trucks and headed up to Smithtown New York in Long Island.
A place where more than one million people were without power because of super storm Sandy and eight men from ocala fought to make a change.
"The main thing was seeing the people come out of their houses freezing. I mean it was cold up there. They had red noses, red mouths form having no power for a couple of weeks. It was cold. They were just so glad to see us and that helped you even more," said Tim Bloom who is a line crew foreman.
On the very first day the men slept and showered in a semi trailer with 32 other men. Soon after they got hotel rooms.
Their days would start at around 6 a.m. and they'd work all day.
"There were a lot of trees down. A lot of broke poles and we had to do a lot of tree trimming ourselves," said Logan Thompson who is a line truck operator.
They wouldn't get back to the hotel until about 10 p.m.
"Dunkin Donuts was our best friend," said Henry Pearson.
They worked in the dark, in the cold and in ankle deep snow.
"Everyone is looking at everyone while they are working and paying attention. If you weren't paying attention then that's when you can get hurt," said line truck operator Joe Dotten.
Many of the powerlines in Smithtown were behind the homes, which meant a whole lot of walking.
"Where you couldn't get a vehicle to it, access. So was a little bit more challenging, but most of the time we'd do about two neighborhoods a day," said Clinton Bishop who is an apprentice.
Residents made them soup and cookies to show how much they apreciated their hardwork.
"Describe their faces when they realized they could put the heater on?"
"I couldn't describe it because they had a smile. They'd come out and give you hugs," said Pearson.
All the men say they love what they do. The cold long working days were worth it to them because they turned on power for more than 1000 houses in Smithtown New York.
"If we could do it next week, I think everybody would turn around and go again," said lineman Matt Brown.
The men said many of the other employees volunteered to go, but only eight were chosen.
It was a team effort because they men who were left behind worked extra hard to maintain the service in Ocala.
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