Ryan Romero, Kyle Boudreaux, Bryon Letchworth, Eric Savoy, D.J. Brasseaux, Seth Demette, Kody Bodian, Devan Mouton, Cody Venable and Spencer Poirier were part of the linemen crew who went to Florida to restore power after Hurrican Irma’s destruction.
Local lineman returns from Florida after helping restore power
A Kaplan man was one of the thousands of crews from throughout the country who was recently deployed to Florida to help restore power to a portion of the state without electricty after Hurricane Irma.
Irma’s storm surges and hurricane winds had a catastrophic impact on some parts of Florida. So much so, that linemen crews from all corners of the country were there helping to restore power to the millions without it.
Seth Demette, a lineman for 11 years who works with LUS, was among the 18 crew member team sent to Tallahassee, Florida to give a helping hand.
The nine truck convoy left Lafayette at 6 a.m. and drove the approximately 500 miles and arrived at Tallahassee at 6:30 p.m. the same day.
Demette said the logistics of the trip and all necessary acccomodations for them were coordinated by the American Power Public Association (APPA).
“The company calls them,” said Demette, “ and they handle everything for us, where to go, where we can sleep at and most of our meals.
“We were pretty lucky this time. We were able to sleep in a hotel with elctricity and water. That made things a whole lot easier for us.
Working round the clock, alongside many other linemen from different parts of the country, the power was restored to the entire city in four days.
The linemen were were then told their help was needed in Lakeland, Florida, approxinately 300 miles from Tallahassee.
Once again, the linemen loaded up their gear into their bucket trucks and drove five hours to help the people of Lakeland.
“We were there with about 500 other linemen,” said Demette. “In six days we had the entire 125,000 customers back on line.”
Demette said its tough being away from your family during a disaster mission, but it’s rewarding work. Being there for people in their greatest time of need, that makes him do storm work time whenever he is asked.
“It is hard work and most of the times in unpleasant conditions,” he said, “but when people come crying up to you to hug and thank you for your work in giving them back their electricity to return to their normal life, it makes your forget all the hardship you went through. We are helping people, and that’s always a good feeling to be able to go down and help others out.
“As we have the hurricanes that hit our area, added Demette, “they come up and help us and all. So, it’s always good to go and pay back those that have helped you before.”
These linemen, however, never forget the danger involved in storm work.
“It’s dangerous driving down there,” he said, “it’s dangerous being there, and it’s dangerous work we are doing. Believe me, your safety training kicks into gear. We work very hard getting their power back on as soon, but as safely possible.”
All men made it back to Louisiana safely, and and back to their regular jobs. But when the next storm work call comes in, they are all packing their gear and ready to head out to wherever the need is.
“I could not done it alone,” said Demette. “The brotherhood of linemen stay together. I couldn’t have done it without the guy next to me.