September 2, 2005

READER ELIZABETH KING EMAILS:

I’m in the Jackson area in central Mississippi and got my power restored on Wednesday afternoon — about 48 hours after it went out. I’m one of the lucky ones, because a big part of central Mississippi is still as dark as the coast,but of course not anywhere close to as devastated. Some folks here had damage to their houses from wind and falling trees, but no loss of life this far north that I know about. We are 150 miles north of the coast, and I sure never expected to get a hurricane up here, but I think it was only a Category 1 by the time we got it.

Anyway, I wanted to ask you if you would send out a thank you from Mississippi to all the out-of-state power company workers who have been working around the clock in 90+ heat to help us get power back up. Our own folks have been magnificent as well, but I just wanted to let the out-of-staters know that their kindness and generosity will not be forgotten. They literally poured into the state to pitch in, before the storm was even over. Most of us can’t even offer them a glass of iced tea, but they have been on the front line in helping us begin to get back to normal. Many, many, many (did I say MANY) power lines are down, even in this part of the state, and the Coast just looks like it’s been bombed. Lots of live power lines and leaking gas lines down there, and these folks are literally risking their own safety to help us. There are a LOT of heroes in this story, but I just wanted to make sure that the linemen and other power workers are not forgotten. Like a lot of the first responders, we don’t pay them nearly what they are worth, but they are brave and wonderful and inspiring. Please tell them thanks.

I’ve always admired power workers, and their sense of mission after disasters.

UPDATE: Reader Lee Lowrey emails:

Just to reinforce the post from Elizabeth King in Central Mississippi: As I drove back to Northeast Georgia from Richmond, Virginia this past Tuesday afternoon, August 30th, I was absolutely amazed by the almost-non-stop line of power company convoys heading south on I-85. Not just the shear numbers (I must have passed over 100 trucks), but their origins – I saw power companies from Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. It was truly an awesome, emotional sight…

We’ll start to see rapid progress by next week, I imagine, though it’ll be months before things are set right, given the scale of the devastation.

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