Saturday, 18 April 2020 14:24

COLUMN: Thank you, lineworkers

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“I am a lineman for the county

And I drive the main road

Searchin’ in the sun for another overload…”

Ranked at number 195 by Rolling Stone Magazine on a list of 500 greatest songs of all time, “Wichita Lineman,” written by Jimmy Webb and recorded by Glen Campbell in 1969, conveys the longtime love and respect our country has always held for linemen. 


Historically, power companies designated the second Monday in April as day to honor line workers until the disastrous Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In response to the above-and-beyond service of line workers, the 113th Congress passed a bill designating April 18 as National Lineman Appreciation Day. The bill reads as follows:

Recognizing linemen, the profession of linemen, the contributions of these brave men and women who protect public safety, and expressing support for the designation of April 18, 2013, as National Lineman Appreciation Day.

Whereas the profession of linemen is steeped in personal, family, and professional tradition;

Whereas linemen are often first responders during storms and other catastrophic events, working to make the scene safe for other public safety heroes;

Whereas linemen work with thousands of volts of electricity high atop power lines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to keep electricity flowing;

Whereas linemen must often work under dangerous conditions far from their families to construct and maintain the energy infrastructure of the United States;

Whereas linemen put their lives on the line every day with little recognition from the community regarding the danger of their work; and

Whereas April 18, 2013, would be an appropriate date to designate as National Lineman Appreciation Day: Now, therefore, be it

That the Senate—

(1)  recognizes the efforts of linemen in keeping the power on and protecting public safety; and

(2)  supports the designation of April 18, 2013, as National Lineman Appreciation Day.

Graphic: www.linemanappreciationday.com

Today, we celebrate our two local power providers, Duke Energy and Pee Dee Electric Cooperative and the many linemen that are employed by the two. In honor of this national holiday, we reached out to employees and linemen from the companies and asked them to offer their own description for the honorable position. 

Duke Energy Press Release: 

April 18 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day – a day set aside each year to honor the men and women who dedicate themselves to the often-hazardous work of keeping the lights on. But this year, Duke Energy lineworkers are sharing the spotlight with all essential workers who are keeping the nation safe and functioning during the pandemic.

Brad Murray - Duke Energy contractor specialist and former lineman of 10 years:

“Linemen support the community and customers to adapt and overcome in all situations thrown at them. Whether it’s a hurricane or a winter storm or whatever compromises power sources, linemen persevere and restore power.” 

Jeff Brooks - Duke Energy:

“They are brave hard workers, who consistently show up every day, regardless of the conditions, eager to work and ensure our power stays on. Saturday, April 18 is National Lineman Appreciation Day, a day to honor lineworkers and their role in powering the lives of millions of people across the country. More than 7,800 lineworkers are part of the Duke Energy team, and their role is especially important now to ensure the electricity is flowing to power vital infrastructure from hospitals to businesses and our everyday conveniences at home.’

Harry Sideris - senior vice president - Duke Energy:

“I’ve been awestruck by the selfless acts of everyday heroes – from the health care workers fighting the virus on the front lines, to store clerks stocking the shelves with food, to concerned citizens delivering groceries to elderly neighbors, we are all united in the midst of this uncertainty, and we find ourselves – as we often do in crises – on the front lines doing the necessary work to keep things running. We’re especially proud of our lineworkers for keeping the lights on for the essential facilities, homes and businesses that depend on us during such an important time in our nation.”

Cathy Page - Pee Dee Electric- vice president of Member Services:

“When I started at Pee Dee Electric, one of the first things that impressed me the most was the dedication of the linemen to not only their job, but to the members and the community. They are always so willing to help in any way that they can.” 

Tony Eason - Pee Dee Electric - vice president of Engineering and Operations:

“To me, they are the modern-day cowboy. They are out there on the front lines. They don’t mind getting out in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a hailstorm, or any other dangerous environment. They definitely have a high level of dedication that you don’t see every day.” 

Frank McIntyre - Operation Support superintendent and former lineman of 22 years:

“Linemen are responsible for the construction, delivery, and maintenance of both overhead and underground electric service. It is a rewarding job and one that we treat as not a job, but as a way of taking care of family.” 

In addition to offering a special thanks and tribute to Duke Energy and Pee Dee Electric, we also want to recognize Richmond Community College for its contribution to the essential field with its two related program of study areas in lineman training and for the relay technician degree. 

The lineman training class at RCC in the fall of 2018 graduated 80 students and from Sept. 9, 2019-Dec. 12, 2019 graduated 19 students. Duke Energy plays a huge role in this program and demonstrates their investment in both the future of their company, our local community college, and in Richmond County. 

Today, we thank all those who are actively and will in the future contribute to the concerted efforts to ensure power sources for us all, as now more than ever, we truly yearn to stay connected. After all, we are all in this together. 

To show your support for lineworkers and all essential employees during this crisis, people across the country will be turning their front porch lights on tonight at 9 p.m. to recognize all front-line heroes. Join us in lighting it up tonight! 

Meghann Lambeth is director of the Richmond County Tourism Development Authority. You can read the original post here.