LES linemen return home from working to restore power in Florida

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Twenty volunteers with the Lincoln Electric System returned home Friday afternoon.

One lineman said it was paradise when they arrived in Florida, until they made it where Hurricane Ian came barreling through.

Once they saw the destruction, they were ready to get to work.

“Texas your here, Indiana your here and Nebraska your here and you know your just with a multitude of experienced line workers over there,” said Jake Nelson, a lineman with LES. “Everybody is enjoying what they are doing, even though there are a lot of obstacles and trial to it.”

The work was harder than normal, as they couldn’t use trucks as much as usual, so they had to climb more poles.

“The neighborhoods, they had old lines running in between yards, and there is no access, there are no alleys, you’re climbing over fences,” Nelson said.

This wasn’t Nelson’s first time heading in after a storm, but it was his first time seeing this kind of devastation.

“For a lot of the crew, it was the first time,” he said. “I’ve done this 20-plus years, and ice storms and tornadoes and stuff, but it’s the first time I’ve seen the flooding like they had. It’s like it brought the ocean in, and it stayed there for a bit and slowly went out. We were driving through 2, 3 foot of water just to get to the job when we first got there.”

Even though the linemen drove far and wide, LES says it was proud to help.

“The LES volunteers opted to go down there because it’s part of our public power mantra to help our neighbors,” spokeswoman Kelley Porter said. “They would do the same for us in a moment of need.”

Nelson shared how thankful so many Floridians were and how special it felt that his work could make such a difference.

“Everybody would come out, and when you throw the switch in, you could hear the whole neighborhood cheer, and they’d show their gratitude,” he said.

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