April 10 is recognized as Lineman Appreciation Day by cooperatives across the nation. It’s rare that I use this column as a thank you to employees, but this month it seems appropriate. So, to the guys out working on Medina Electric Cooperative lines: Thank you.
While every staff member at the cooperative is invaluable and appreciated, the day of a lineman is not like the day of most other types of workers. It is not 8 to 5. It can be 24 hours a day. It is not Monday through Friday. It is 365 days a year. These guys work a job few would want. In fact, it routinely makes the lists of deadliest jobs and they very often work in nasty weather.
When there is a power outage, there are no holidays or weekends for them. When a storm rolls through, there is no hunkering down in their house for them. In fact, the times when most of us most want to stay inside is when they are putting on their boots and walking out into the weather, so that we (myself included) can all enjoy all the amenities that electricity makes possible.
They are not the only ones who make sacrifices. Their families also give time they could be spending with their loved one to the community. Mom knows that sometimes Dad may have to miss the Christmas Eve meal because someone’s power went out, or that the weekend activity may be put on hold if a storm is coming.
It also is amazing to me every time I think about the area that our crews cover. Medina EC has more than 9,400 miles of line that our crews maintain. I am going to let that number sink in. Just in case you don’t realize how much line that is, it is enough to stretch from Rio Grande City, where our southernmost office is, to Anchorage Alaska, and back, and still have line left over. They drive more than 1 million miles a year, or at least they did in 2016. The numbers really are amazing.
I am not active on social media, but I do have a Facebook account—primarily to keep up with my kids and grandkids (you know, since kids don’t pick up the phone and call people anymore, but that’s another column entirely). One of the pages I follow on Facebook is, as you may guess, Medina Electric’s. At the very end of February, we shared a post on our Facebook from one of our linemen. The original post was made one evening on his personal page, but it really encompassed how our workers feel about their jobs. Felipe Moreno, who works out of our Dilley office, took a photo of his work boots caked in mud and posted it, saying in part, “I love my job.”
If you don’t believe that this job is in the blood of our linemen, that post alone really shows that it is.
These guys do this work because they love it. They work in the rain and wind because they love it. They get out of bed at 3 a.m. when it is storming and everyone else is asleep, get in their truck and drive out to your house to restore your power because they love it. And, every one of our members should love them for it. Our power works because they do.
Our lineworkers are brave, committed, selfless and critical to our success. I hope you will join me in thanking the many lineworkers—both locally and around the world—who light our lives.
Without the linemen, there would be no Medina Electric Cooperative.
Until next time,